Mattis warns that United States 'will never accept a nuclear North Korea'

WASHINGTON DC- OCTOBER 09 U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis delivers the keynote address during the Association of the United States Army's annual meeting and exposition at the Washington Convention Center

In remarks in Seoul with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo at his side, Mattis accused the North of illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear programs - and vowed to defeat any attack. -South Korean military and diplomatic collaboration thus has taken on "a new urgency". -South Korean alliance, and that diplomacy was most effective "when backed by credible military force". But Mattis and Song were strongly dismissive of the idea.

US Defence Secretary General James Mattis said dictator Kim Jong-un would never be allowed to achieve his goal of becoming a nuclear power.

Trump entered office declaring his commitment to solving the North Korea problem, asserting that he would succeed where his predecessors had failed.

USA intelligence experts say Pyongyang believes it needs the nuclear weapons to ensure its survival and have been skeptical about diplomatic efforts, focusing on sanctions, to get Pyongyang to denuclearize.

If Trump sticks to his pledge to stop the North from being able to threaten the USA with a nuclear attack, something will have to give - either a negotiated tempering of the North's ambitions or a US acceptance of the North as a nuclear power.

As United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis peered into North Korea from a lookout post Friday, he received a blunt reminder by his South Korean counterpart of the amount of North Korean artillery within range of Seoul.

Mattis called the North "an oppressive regime that shackles its people, denying their freedom, their welfare and their human dignity in pursuit of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery in order to threaten others with catastrophe". At Saturday's briefing, Mattis didn't offer a direct answer to what those options are or how and when they would be used.

"And yes, we do have those options", he said.

"North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs", he said, adding that the U.S.

On his second trip as defense secretary to the United States ally, Mattis will meet with South Korean officials as part of an annual consultation on defense issues on the Korean peninsula. He made a point of going to Seoul and Tokyo on his first overseas trip in February, saying he wanted to emphasize the importance he places on strengthening alliances and partnerships.

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