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Mattis hints at military options on North Korea but offers no details

22 September, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Korea China Friendship Bridge- an old bridge connecting the two socialist states over the Yalu River

Mattis hinted on Monday that the USA military has options to retaliate against North Korea that wouldn't put South Korea's capital Seoul at risk, but said "he will not go into details".

Trump has vowed that North Korea will never be allowed to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile, but he has also asked China to do more to rein in its neighbor. The official declined to speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Monday that the USA has not moved to shoot down any of North Korea's test missiles because "those missiles are not directly threatening any of us". Because the KN-17 appears to be successful, the official says the USA has assessed that it is likely North Korea will turn back to additional testing of the KN-20 (aka Hwasong 14) intercontinental ballistic missile to see if they can improve its performance.

China and Russian Federation have started their joint military maneuvers on Monday, in the North Korean waters, a few days after Pyongyang's most recent nuclear and ballistic tests.

But concerns over Kim's missile program have increased after the tyrant threatened to shoot a rocket at Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific, just 2,100 miles away from North Korea.

The move came with tensions on the Korean peninsula at fever-pitch after Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear test and fired two missiles over Japan in the space of less than a month.

The idea of shooting down a missile even if it is not a direct threat is not new.

The decision to install the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptor in a military base in Hakodate city comes after Pyongyang conducted its latest launch of a medium-range missile that fell into the Pacific Ocean after flying over northern Japan on September 15, the official told Efe news.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) speaks to his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall in a summit held on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in NY on September 19, 2017. "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime".

North Korea says its missile and nuclear programs are meant to defend it against United States hostility.

Mattis said that the US has military options available to counter North Korea that wouldn't necessarily create a grave risk of retaliation against Seoul.

Pressed on whether that might include so-called "kinetic" options that use lethal force, Mattis said: "I don't want to go into that".

The Pentagon is looking at potential covert cyberattack options. Trump says he has not ruled out a military option in the crisis.

Pyongyang says it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself from the U.S.
.

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