Mattis Says US Has Options for ‘Total Annihilation’ of North Korea
President Donald Trump met with Defense Secretary James Mattis and other military leaders on Sunday after North Korea conducted a sixth nuclear weapon test.
While readings suggest the test was not of a hydrogen bomb, readings did detect what appears to be a nuclear explosion.
Defense Secretary Mattis said that he presented the president with several military options in response to the growing threat by the North Korean communist regime.
“The President wanted a briefing on each of them,” Mattis said, adding that the United States has “the ability to defend ourselves and our allies–South Korea and Japan–from an attack.”
North Korea’s latest nuclear test comes less than a week after it fired a ballistic missile over Japan. The regime has claimed that it’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, and that it has successfully miniaturized a nuclear bomb to fit in a warhead of the missile.
While experts are skeptical of the accuracy and range of North Korea’s ICBMs, Guam, as well as part of the America’s mainland could be within reach of the regime.
Speaking at the UN Security Council on Monday, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley said that the threat of a country pointing nuclear capable missiles at the United States was unacceptable.
Hayley said that war is not something that the United States wants but that “our country’s patience is not unlimited.”
Mattis has warned several times that a war with North Korea would be catastrophic.
“A conflict in North Korea, John, would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes,” Mattis told CBS News in May this year.
However, faced with North Korea’s ongoing threats Mattis said in a statement on Sunday that the United States is not looking for the “total annihilation” of North Korea, but that “we have many options to do so.”
The United States has several military bases in the region, such as in Guam, Japan, and South Korea, where it has an estimated 28,000 troops stationed.
In July, the United States conducted tests with supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula. The bombers took off from a U.S. air base in Guam.
President Donald Trump called out its ally South Korea in a series of tweets on Sunday, saying that “their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work,” and that “they only understand one thing,” likely referring to the need of military action against the north.
President Trump also took aim at China saying that North Korea has become a “great threat and embarrassment to China.”
Trump has expressed hope several times this year that China would be able to help contain North Korea by cutting trade with the rogue nation. Instead, China has increased trade.
“The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea,” Trump said in a tweet.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Haley repeated that specific threat on Monday, saying the United States will look at every country that, by doing business with North Korea, aids its reckless intentions .