Mattis hints at secret 'kinetic' military options for North Korea

Lester Mason
September 21, 2017

But he said that could change.

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

"Were they to be aimed at Guam, or United States territory, that would elicit a different response".

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis hinted on Monday about the existence of military options on North Korea that might spare South Korea's capital Seoul from a brutal counterattack but he declined to elaborate. The city of Seoul, South Korea, home to 25 million, is well within artillery range of the North, which would likely use conventional artillery munitions and chemical weapons.

North Korea has fired two missiles over Japan in the past month, both of which landed in the Pacific Ocean beyond the northern island of Hokkaido.

It's hard to understand what the Pentagon could do to stop a North Korean nuclear program, or take out its leader Kim Jong-un, while preventing Pyongyang from fighting back.

The remark by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis marks a departure from the popular argument that there is no viable military option that would not leave thousands of South Koreans and US service members dead.

Mattis would not say how the United States might bypass that risk while exercising military options.

"Yes, I don't want to go into that", Mattis said, agreeing that his closely-held military option involved kinetic action, a euphemism to describe lethal military force. Other potential options are a naval blockade of North Korea, or a deployment of additional troops to the region.

Despite heated rhetoric in the United States and North Korea, there has been no positioning of USA military assets to suggest a military conflict is imminent.

His comments come as the Trump administration has struck an increasingly bellicose tone towards Pyongyang in the face of a sharply accelerated pace of missile tests from North Korea.

"There are many military options, in concert with our allies, that we will take to defend our allies and our own interests", Mattis told Pentagon reporters.

North Korea has said it needs the capability to strike the US with a nuclear weapon to deter an American invasion.

Mattis cited as proof a recent decision by the Mexican government to declare the North Korea ambassador there "persona non grata" - a move which essentially expelled him from the country.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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