“The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has released his own statement regarding the growing tensions between America and North Korea.
Yesterday, President Donald Trump warned the Communist regime that it will face “the fire and fury the world has never seen” if officials do not stop threatening America. North Korea responded with a threat to attack Guam, which houses an American army base.
Mattis echoed this sentiment, stating that North Korea’s actions will ultimately lead to its end.
“The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Mattis wrote. “The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”
A few days ago, North Korea promised it would only use nuclear weapons against the United States.
Then yesterday a report revealed that North Korea may have 60 nuclear weapons:
“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the assessment states, in an excerpt read to The Washington Post. The assessment’s broad conclusions were verified by two U.S. officials familiar with the document. It is not yet known whether the reclusive regime has successfully tested the smaller design, although North Korea officially last year claimed to have done so.
Mattis also informed the public in his statement that Trump received information last December “of the growing threat” that North Korea presents to the country. He said that one of his first orders to Mattis “emphasized the readiness of our ballistic missile and nuclear deterrent forces.”
Mattis cautioned North Korea that America “and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack.”
If North Korea keeps threatening our national security, Mattis emphasized that the hermit kingdom’s actions could “lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”
He finished his statement with a reminder to the regime that America and allies “now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth.” Therefore, no matter what North Korea has, it “will continue to be grossly unmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.”
Mattis acknowledged in his statement that the State Department is trying to ease the tensions through diplomatic means, which is exactly what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to do this morning:
“What the president was doing was sending a strong message to North Korea in a language that Kim Jong Un would understand,” Tillerson told reporters as he traveled back from Southeast Asia. “It was important that he deliver that message to avoid any miscalculation on their part.”
He stopped in the small Pacific island of Guam, a U.S. territory, just hours after North Korea threatened to strike it. But he had no qualms about safety while there, he said. “I do not believe there is any imminent threat, in my own view.”
He later said, “Americans should sleep well at night. I have no concerns about this particular rhetoric over the last few days.”
Tillerson is currently in Southeast Asia where he is encouraging countries to take a hard line against North Korea and enforce the sanctions the United Nations Security Council recently passed. The Wall Street Journal explained that in order for the sanctions to work, these countries in Southeast Asia must cooperate since many of them “maintain diplomatic and economic relationships with North Korea.”
Some countries have shown signs of resistance towards North Korea:
One Southeast Asian diplomat said his country wasn’t approving some staff at the North Korean embassy and had denied meetings at a senior level. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations called on North Korea on Saturday to comply with sanctions and said they supported “irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
In Bangkok on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said Thailand had cut trade with North Korea by more than 90% in the first six months of this year compared with the same period a year earlier. He said Thailand would also implement U.N. sanctions but that “we are not going to completely cut ties.”
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