Mattis: Diplomacy with North Korea hasn't failed

U.S. Defense Secretary says he still has confidence in diplomatic efforts on North Korea.

Ben Ariel ,

James Mattis
James Mattis

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday that he still had confidence in diplomatic efforts on North Korea, Reuters reported.

He stressed that the United States would be “unrelenting” in working through the United Nations to resolve the conflict.

“I am not willing to say that diplomacy has not worked. We will continue to work diplomatically, we will continue to work through the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council and we will be unrelenting in that,” Mattis said before the start of a meeting with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Seraj at the Pentagon.

“At the same time, our diplomats will speak from a position of strength because we do have military options,” he added.

Earlier this week, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before splashing down in the Sea of Japan.

The country’s state-run television network KCTV later boasted that the ICBM was a Hwasong-15 type missile, which has technical capabilities far superior to the previous Hwasong-14, and can hit the entire U.S.

In a statement, North Korea claimed to be "a responsible nuclear power" and said its nuclear weapons were developed in order to provide protection from "the U.S. imperialists’ nuclear blackmail policy and nuclear threat."

On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley warned that North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch "brings us closer to war" and added that if war comes as a result of further acts of "aggression" like the latest launch, "make no mistake - the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed."

U.S. President Donald Trump said "we will take care of it" when asked by reporters about the launch shortly after it occurred.