Mattis warns North Korea of ‘destruction of its people’ and the ending of its regime

 US Defense Secretary James Mattis
US Defense Secretary James Mattis

Defense Secretary James Mattis warned North Korea in stark terms on Wednesday that it faces devastation if it does not end its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Mattis said in a statement, referring to North Korea.

“The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”

Mattis’s remarks follow bellicose comments from President Trump warning North Korea of “fire and fury” if it takes aggressive steps toward the United States.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that North Korea had obtained the capability of creating a nuclear warhead small enough to place on a missile.

Mattis’s remarks could be part of a coordinated effort with the White House to send a tough signal to both North Korea and China, the reclusive country’s main ally.

North Korea has responded to Trump’s comments with its own tough rhetoric. On Tuesday, it suggested it could launch an attack on Guam.

Mattis makes note of Trump’s involvement in the tense situation and writes that the president “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.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday that Trump was seeking to send a “strong message” to North Korea that the United States was prepared to defend itself and its allies.

But Mattis made the point in much more direct language on Wednesday.

“The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack,” he wrote.

“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,” he said in the statement. “The DPRK regime’s actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.”

North Korea would have the capability to devastate much of South Korea in any military exchange with the United States. This knowledge has been a deterrent on any use of force against Pyongyang.

Mattis’s full statement:

“The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack. Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability. The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.

“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. 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.”

THE HILL