Standing within the tense demilitarized zone dividing North Korea and South Korea, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis mentioned America isn’t on the lookout for a combat, however is prepared for one.

“Our purpose shouldn’t be struggle,” Mattis mentioned Friday of the nuclear missile risk from North Korea beneath dictator Kim Jong Un, “however quite the entire, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

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“We’re doing the whole lot we are able to to resolve this diplomatically—the whole lot we are able to,” he added. “Our diplomats should be backed up by sturdy troopers and sailors, airmen and Marines, in order that they communicate from a place of power, of mixed power, of alliance power, shoulder to shoulder.”

The U.S. has troops in South Korea and Japan, in addition to quite a few strategic navy property within the area.

For the primary time in a decade, the U.S. has three service battle teams working within the Pacific theater of operations.

While the Trump administration has made clear that every one choices are on the desk, together with the specter of navy motion, Mattis has argued for diplomacy from the start.

“We would win at nice price,” Mattis informed a congressional committee in the course of the summer season, including, “It can be a struggle that essentially we don’t need.”

Mattis beforehand mentioned struggle with North Korea can be “tragic on an unbelievable scale.” At the identical time, the protection secretary has confused that the U.S. is able to ship a crushing blow ought to it come to that.

As North Korean guards stood only a few ft away, the sounds of patriotic North Korean music within the air, Mattis referred to as North Korea an “oppressive regime that shackles its folks, denying their freedom, their welfare, and their human dignity in pursuit of nuclear weapons and their technique of supply with a view to threaten others with disaster.”

Despite worldwide stress, Mattis added, North Korean provocations proceed. North Korea has launched round two dozen missiles this yr and examined a suspected hydrogen bomb with an explosive yield far higher than something the regime beforehand examined.

When Mattis first visited South Korea as secretary of protection in February, he mentioned the U.S. will stand beside regional allies in opposition to the North Korean risk and reply with “overwhelming” power if North Korea assaults. His most up-to-date go to reinforces that dedication.

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