Mattis stresses diplomacy in handling North Korea’s ‘reckless rhetoric’
Defense Secretary James Mattis in a meeting with his South Korean counterpart called for diplomacy in dealing with provocations by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“Diplomacy should impose reason on Kim’s reckless rhetoric and dangerous provocations,” Mattis said, according to Reuters.
Mattis’s remarks came during a visit to U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii on the last leg of a trip that also brought him to Indonesia and Vietnam.
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) January 27, 2018
Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have soared over the past year amid a series of advancements in Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
President Trump has repeatedly warned that he has not ruled out a military option for dealing with North Korea, and has said that the U.S. would “totally destroy” the country if it threatened the U.S. or its allies.
The president’s remarks have raised concerns in the region that the U.S. and North Korea are hurtling toward a confrontation. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Thursday that a military response to Pyongyang’s provocations would be “unacceptable.”
Diplomacy between the two Koreas got a boost earlier this month when officials from the two countries met for the first time in years regarding North Korea’s participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which is set to begin next month.
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