Mattis Warns N. Korea: Actions Could Lead To ‘Destruction Of Its People’

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Defense Secretary James Mattis issued an aggressive warning to North Korea following President Donald Trump’s own threat of “fire and fury” in response to the reported advancement of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

“The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Mattis said in a statement provided to TPM. “The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”

The statement follows similar language from Trump on Tuesday, and again Wednesday morning, when he wrote: “Hopefully we will never have to use this power,” referring to the United States’ nuclear capabilities.

White House aide Sebastian Gorka said Thursday, explaining Trump’s comments, that “We are not just a superpower. We were a superpower. We are now a hyperpower,” and that “the message is very clear: Don’t test this White House, Pyongyang.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that Trump was using “ language Kim Jong-un can understand.”

Read Mattis’ full statement below:

The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack. Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability.  The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons.  The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.

President Trump was informed of the growing threat last December and on taking office his first orders to me emphasized the readiness of our ballistic missile defense and nuclear deterrent forces. While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth.  The DPRK regime’s actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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