Published: Fri, September 22, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

Mattis: North Korea Sanctions Are Working

Mattis: North Korea Sanctions Are Working

The Reagan strike group will conduct a separate drill with the South Korean Navy in October, the defence ministry said in a statement distributed to South Korean lawmakers on Monday.

Trump also irked some USA allies and partners with talk on possibly needing to "totally destroy" North Korea due to its nuclear and missile tests, and with talk of potentially pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran.

With tensions escalating over North Korea's continued nuclear and ballistic missile testing in a bid to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile, Trump has warned of USA military action.

He was asked why the USA, which has spent tens of billions of dollars on missile defense programs in recent decades, has not tried to intercept North Korea's rockets as they demonstrate an increasingly sophisticated missile capability.

North Korea, meanwhile, used the volatile propellant as recently as last Friday when it launched a mid-range missile over Japan.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said North Korea is "intentionally doing provocations that seem to press against the envelope for just how far can they push without going over some kind of a line in their minds that would make them vulnerable".

When pressed on what possible military options could prevent North Korea from launching missiles at South Korea in response to an attack, Mattis remained confident in his secret options.

The secretary made a September 15 trip to Mexico City to strengthen the bilateral defense relationship and participate in Mexican Independence Day activities, and to the reporters he said that Mexico had declared the North Korean ambassador a persona non grata.

Mattis discussed several aspects of the North Korea crisis in an impromptu exchange with reporters at the Pentagon, including the effect of global economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure on North Korea.

"The bottom line is that in the missiles, were they to be a threat, whether it be the United States territory Guam, obviously Japan, Japan's territory, that would elicit a different response from us", he said.

"This is the time for statesmanship", said the former prime minister of Portugal.

"These are the issues that the U.S. intelligence community has to answer: from which countries they receive the fuel - it's probably China - and whether North Korea has a stockpile and how big it is". Kim Jong Un, whom President Donald Trump has nicknamed "Rocket Man", would never admit it, but he has to get some chills hearing those words from "Mad Dog" Mattis.

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