The U.S. has seen no need to shoot down North Korean missiles test-fired in Japan’s direction, but a future missile launch that threatens U.S. or Japanese territory will “elicit a different response from us,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday.
He also said, without elaboration, that the Trump administration has military options against North Korea that would not put Seoul at risk. He would not say whether he was referring to overt combat action, a cyberattack or something more covert.
Mattis also confirmed that he and his South Korean counterpart had recently discussed the possibility of putting U.S. nuclear weapons back into South Korea, an option that has been raised publicly by some South Korean politicians. U.S. nuclear weapons were withdrawn from the Korean Peninsula in the early 1990s at the close of the Cold War.
Mattis discussed several aspects of the North Korea crisis in an impromptu exchange with reporters at the Pentagon, including the effect of international economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure on North Korea. He argued that the pressure is working, and gave as an example Mexico’s decision to expel the North Korean ambassador in Mexico City.
Source: News agencies