Mattis: There's still room for diplomacy with North Korea

Secretary of Defense says diplomacy still possible in dealing with North Korea's ballistic missile launches.

Elad Benari,

James Mattis
James Mattis

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said on Wednesday that there was still room for diplomacy in dealing with North Korea's provocative ballistic missile launches, AFP reported.

"We're never out of diplomatic solutions," Mattis said as he went into a meeting with South Korea Defense Minister Song Young-Moo.

"We continue to work together and the minister and I share responsibility to provide for the protection of our nation our populations and our interests, which is what we are here to discuss," he added, stressing, "We are never complacent."

Earlier this week, North Korea launched an intermediate range ballistic missile over Japanese territory, the latest in a series of provocations by the isolated country.

Before Mattis spoke on Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump had tweeted, "The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!"

On Tuesday, Trump clarified that “all options are on the table” following the missile launch.

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un said the latest launch was just the first step of a military operation that would include Guam.

North Korea threatened a missile attack on Guam, a tiny U.S. territory in the Pacific, in response to Trump’s warning that Pyongyang faced "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it continued to threaten the United States with its missile and nuclear programs.

On Tuesday, the UN Security Council unanimously condemned North Korea’s "outrageous" actions, calling them "not just a threat to the region, but to all UN member states."