Mattis: North Korean Aggression Would Incur ‘Massive Military Response’

Defense secretary ramps up deterrent rhetoric against belligerent nation after latest nuclear test

Defense Secretary James Mattis warned, while speaking to reporters Sunday, that any further threats from North Korea against the U.S. or its allies would be met with “a massive military response.”

North Korea announced Sunday that it had conducted its sixth nuclear test, as its latest act of aggression following a tense month filled with heated rhetoric from both sides. The underground nuclear test of what Pyongyang claimed was a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) triggered a sizable earthquake.

South Korean officials estimated that the latest bomb contained five times more power than the atomic bomb the U.S. detonated in Nagasaki, Japan, during World War II, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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And the U.S. has had enough, Mattis said, after leaving a meeting with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and the administration’s top national security advisers.

“Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming. [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice,” he said Sunday. “We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so.”

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“We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attacks, and our commitments among the allies are ironclad,” Mattis added.

The secretary of Defense also advised Kim to “take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice” when “all members unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses,” noting that “they remain unanimous in their commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

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In early August, Trump responded to North Korea’s escalating belligerence by vowing to meet nuclear threats against the U.S. and its allies “with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Earlier on Sunday, the president issued a series of tweets commenting on Pyongyang’s sixth test.

“North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States … North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success,” Trump tweeted.

The president added that “the United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.”

The U.N. Security Council is slated to hold an emergency meeting Monday in the wake of North Korea’s latest act of aggression.

(photo credit, homepage and article images: Jette Carr)

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