U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis threatened military action against North Korea Sunday during a short press briefing at the White House.
Standing beside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Josep Dunford, Mattis stated that any threat to the U.S., its territories or its allies would be met with “a massive military response.”
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“Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies, will be met with a massive military response,” Mattis said. “A response both effective and overwhelming.”
The stern warning came after a national security meeting in which President Donald Trump was briefed on all U.S. military options following North Korea’s test of a suspected thermonuclear weapon on Sunday.
“We have many military options and the president wanted to be briefed on each one of them,” Mattis said. “We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies South Korea and Japan from any attack and our commitments among the allies are ironclad.”
Mattis stressed that the U.S. is “not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea” but said there were “many options to do so.”
Trump likewise condemned North Korea’s alleged hydrogen bomb test on social media Sunday morning.
“North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test,” Trump said on Twitter. “Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.”
Hours before Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear weapons test, which produced a magnitude 6.3 earthquake according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was pictured next to the alleged “H-bomb” – designed for the country’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
“The institute recently succeeded in making a more developed nuke, true to the strategic intention of the WPK for bringing about a signal turn in nuclear weaponization,” a statement from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. “He watched an H-bomb to be loaded into new ICBM.”
“The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton, is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack according to strategic goals.”
Experts say the seismic activity produced by the nuclear test, North Korea’s most powerful to date, is consistent with that of a thermonuclear explosion.