Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued a reminder of the costs of a military solution to the growing threat on the Korean Peninsula in a press briefing Friday.
“If this goes to a military solution, it’s going to be tragic on an unbelievable scale,” Mattis said. “So our effort is to work with the U.N., work with China, work with Japan, work with South Korea to try to find a way out of this situation.”
“There appears to be some impact by the Chinese working here,” he further explained, noting that things are “obviously not perfect.”
North Korea tested Sunday its tenth missile of the year, a Hwasong-12 medium long-range surface-to-surface missile which some analysts believe may be the foundation for an eventual intercontinental ballistic missile able to strike the U.S.
“They probably learned a lot from it,” Mattis said.
The Trump administration is pursuing a policy of “maximum pressure and engagement” to, in the words of Admiral Harry Harris, head of U.S. Pacific Command, “bring Kim Jong Un to his senses,” but not necessarily “to his knees.”
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