U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday that North Korea’s “reckless” actions must be stopped.
— Mikael Thalen (@MikaelThalen) March 31, 2017
Speaking beside British Defense Minister Michael Fallon at a London press conference, Mattis alluded to North Korea’s growing nuclear weapon and missile programs in response to a reporter’s question on Iran.
“At the time when I spoke about Iran, I was the commander of the U.S. Central Command and that was the primary exporter of terrorism… the primary state sponsor of terrorism and it continues that kind of behavior today, but in the larger scheme of things… the North Korean threat, this is a threat of both rhetoric and growing capability,” he said.
The issue, Mattis asserted, is currently being weighed with the assistance of allies as well as the United Nations.
“We will be working with the international community to address this, we’re doing so right now, we’re working through the United Nations, we’re working with our allies, and we’re working diplomatically including with those that we might be able to enlist in this effort to get North Korea under control,” he said.
“But right now it appears to be going in a very reckless manner in what its conduct is portraying for the future, and that’s got to be stopped.”
Mattis’ comments come only one week after U.S. defense officials say North Korea carried out its latest missile engine test.
Satellite images from March 25, analyzed by Washington-based think tank “38 North” Tuesday, may also indicate that North Korea is in the final stages of preparations for a sixth nuclear test.
The think tank concluded that numerous factors presented in the photographs “strongly suggests that test preparations are well underway,” but cautioned there was no definitive evidence of a nuclear device being present at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated earlier this month that the policy of “strategic patience” has ended, noting that all options, including military, are now on the table.
“Certainly, we do not want things to get to a military conflict… but obviously, if North Korea takes actions that threatens the South Korean forces or our own forces, then that would be met with an appropriate response,” Tillerson said. “If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe that requires action, that option is on the table.”