US Defence Secretary James Mattis has told North Korea to avoid actions that could usher in the “end of its regime and the destruction of its people”.
“The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”
The Pentagon chief also said Pyongyang would be “grossly overmatched” in a war against the US and its allies.
His stark warning comes a day after President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury”.
Fox News reports:
“The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Mattis said in a statement. “The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”
Mattis provided a powerful follow-up to Trump’s warning that Pyongyang would face “fire and fury” should it continue to test missiles, build nuclear warheads and threaten to attack the United States. Lest anyone think Trump was speaking without the counsel of his top military man, Mattis said Trump is well aware of the depth of the North Korean threat.
“President Trump was informed of the growing threat last December and on taking office his first orders to me emphasized the readiness of our ballistic missile defense and nuclear deterrent forces,” Mattis continued.
“While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth. The DPRK regime’s actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.”
Tuesday’s report that Pyongyang has missile-ready nukes, combined with months of missile tests and threats from Kim, has brought the world to the brink. Punishing sanctions passed last week by the U.N. only served to increase Pyongyang’s hostility toward the world, and in particular, the U.S.
Kim is believed to control up to 60 nuclear weapons.
The North Korean regime has conducted 12 tests so far this year, with one ICBM test conducted in late July sending a missile 2,300 miles into space and 45 minutes into the air. It was the longest, and farthest ballistic missile test in the history of North Korea, officials told Fox News at the time.
Trump leveled his initial threat on Tuesday, after the report that North Korea is closer than previously believed to making good on its threats.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Mr. Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he is spending much of the month on a working vacation. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
Referring to the volatile Kim, Trump said, “He has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said, they will be met with fire and fury, and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
Trump followed his threat with a tweet Wednesday declaring the U.S. is more than ready for a war.
“My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” Trump tweeted. “Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”