Published On:February 3, 2017, 11:34 am
The United States President Donald Trump’s secretary of defense, James Mattis gave an ultimatum to North Korea that if they make use of any nuclear weapons, they would receive an “effective and overwhelming” response from the US.
Mattis is in South Korea for his two day visit, where he has constantly been assuring Seoul that it has America’s constant backing.
At the South Korea’s defense ministry, Jim Mattis said, "Any attack on the United States, or our allies, will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming."
Continuous and recurring nuclear and missile tests and aggressive statements continue to anger and alarm the region.
The United States has a substantial military presence in Japan and North Korea, as a part of a post-war defense deal.
US president Donald Trump had earlier mentioned that he wants both the countries to pay more towards keeping that presence.
Mattis is using his visit to give assurance to South Korea that the Trump administration “remains steadfast” in its “iron-clad” defense commitments to the region, stated the Pentagon.
North Korea has been constantly threatening to destroy South Korea and its prime ally, the United States, and has also conducted 20 missile tests last year, along with two nuclear tests, in defiance of UN resolutions and sanctions.
North Korea conducted its fifth test of a nuclear device last year, and asserts that it is very much capable of conducting a nuclear attack on the United States, though experts are yet not convinced that ithas a technology of far more progression.
The experts have also stated that in recent weeks, North Korea has a new intercontinental ballistic missile which is capable enough to reach the US mainland that is prepared to test launch anytime.
The North seems to have also restarted reactor operation at its prime Yongbyon nuclear facility which generates plutonium that can be used for its nuclear weapons program, as per US think tank 38 North.
Mattis said, "North Korea continues to launch missiles, develop its nuclear weapons program and engage in threatening rhetoric and behavior."
These actions by North Korea have propelled South Korea and the United States to respond by support and strengthen the defenses, which included the exploitation of a US missile defense system, called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), later this year in South Korea.
Nevertheless, China has raised an objection to THAAD, saying that it will weaken the regional security balance, resulting to calls from some South Korean opposition leaders to postpone or cancel it.
Han Min-koo, defense minister of South Korea, confirmed plans to deploy THAAD and stated that Mattis’ Seoul visit has successfully sent a clear message of strong backing from the United States.
He said, "Faced with a current severe security situation, Secretary Mattis' visit to Korea ... also communicates the strongest warning to North Korea."
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