Mattis: U.S. will stop North’s missile attacksThe United States will take immediate and specific action to take down a North Korean missile should it be fired at any of its allies, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday.
Mattis made the remark during a press conference following a so-called “2+2” meeting involving the foreign and defense ministers of the United States and its ally Japan.
“We would take immediate, specific actions to take it down,” he said in response to a question about what the United States would do if North Korea launched ballistic missiles toward an ally’s territory.
Just last week, the communist regime threatened to fire four intermediate-range ballistic missiles over Japan into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam. After U.S. President Donald Trump warned the military was “locked and loaded,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suspended the plan Tuesday.
In their discussions, Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Foreign Minister Taro Kono reaffirmed their “mutual commitment to confronting threats to regional peace and security,” according to the top U.S. diplomat.
They agreed that the North’s missile launches, including two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, are “unacceptable provocations” that “must stop immediately.”
Mattis added there are “strong military consequences” to hostilities initiated by the North.
Still, Tillerson held out the possibility of talks with Pyongyang.
Military action is “not our preferred pathway,” he said, stressing the United States continues to enlist the support of its partners and allies to pressure Pyongyang to the point that it realizes its future is “bleak, and will only become bleaker if they continue this pathway.”
“So that is our effort to cause them to want to engage in talks, but engage in talks with an understanding that these talks will lead to a different conclusion than talks of the past,” he said.
The annual meeting was held for the first time since the launch of the Trump administration. Yonhap