US Defense Secretary James Mattis says diplomacy a viable option with North Korea

December 1, 2017 9:49 am
Defense Secretary delivers a briefing to President Donald Trump on a North Korean missile test as Trump speaks with reporters at the White House in Washington, November 28, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
US defense secretary James Mattis says he still has confidence in diplomacy to resolve tensions with North Korea and that Washington would be “unrelenting” in working through the United Nations.
The Pentagon chief made the comments on Thursday before the start of a meeting with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Seraj at the US Defense Department.
“I am not willing to say that diplomacy has not worked. We will continue to work diplomatically, we will continue to work through the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council and we will be unrelenting in that,” he said.
“At the same time, our diplomats will speak from a position of strength because we do have military options,” he added.
The US defense secretary’s comments come after North Korea test-fired an advanced inter-continental ballistic missile on Tuesday that puts the US mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.
The launch drew quick and widespread condemnations, with the US envoy to the UN threatening to destroy Pyongyang in case of a possible war.US president Donald Trump, who has previously threatened the North with “destruction” gave a guarded response to the test.
“I will only tell you that we will take care of it, Trump said at the White House. “It is a situation that we will handle,” he added, without further elaboration.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also stressed that diplomatic options were still “viable and open.”
The inter-continental Hwasong-15 missile flew higher than any other missiles launched previously by Pyongyang, according to North Korean state media, which also said the missile ended up landing in Japanese waters after traveling 960 kilometers.
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