James Mattis, the Secretary of Defense tried to downplay Trump’s earlier claim that seemed to rule out a possible diplomatic solution to the ongoing missile tests from North Korea.
Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to talk about the possible diplomatic solution.
See his tweet below:
The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2017
However, Mattis disagreed with the president. He told the reporters that were asking him about the tweet “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions.”
“We continue to work together, and the minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nation our populations and our interests, which is what we are here to discuss today. And look for all the areas we can collaborate — there is already very strong collaboration, we always look for more, we are never complacent.”
Mattis was speaking alongside the Defense Minister of South Korea, Song Young-moo. The two also declined to discuss the additional military support that South Korea might need from the US to increase the pressure in North Korea.
The comments from Mattis on how to respond to the threats are echoing those that Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State made on Sunday. He said that our country would continue the “peaceful pressure” campaign on Pyongyang. “We continue to want the Kim [Jong Un] regime to understand there is a different path he can choose. There is a unified international voice echoing our message that no one wants to see a nuclearized Korean peninsula, so we’re all unified in our message to see a denuclearized Korean peninsula. We hope for the opportunity to engage with them as to how we might achieve that.”
Early on Tuesday North Korea also fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan. This led to an escalation of the tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. Kin Jong Un, the leader of North Korea called this test a “prelude” to the military operations they are directing at the US territory of Guam. He also said that the North Korean government is going to conduct more tests in the Pacific.