Asked by reporters to respond to a tweet by President Trump that said “talking is not the answer” in reference to the past 25 years of unsuccessful dialogue with North Korea, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis offered a different opinion on Wednesday.
“No, we are never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis said in a brief interchange with a pool of reporters before going on to meet with South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense leader Song Young-moo in the Pentagon. “We continue to work together, and the minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nations, our populations, and our interests, which is what we are here to discuss today.”
President Trump’s early-morning tweet stated: “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!”
It may have been his way of suggesting that the administration may be changing its tactic towards North Korea. This occurred one day after a White House statement issued an ominous “all options are on the table,” which was directed towards the rogue regime after its launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Monday, which flew over Japan before hitting the Pacific Ocean east of Japan.
Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have repeatedly said the top priority should be a diplomatic solution with North Korea, but it doesn’t look like dictator Kim Jong Un has received that particular memo.
The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2017
Kim remains defiant in the face of U.S., U.N., and international demands that he stops missile testing and put an end to his ongoing nuclear weapons program.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted Kim as calling Monday’s missile launch “a curtain-raiser” and “the first step of the military operation” aimed at “containing Guam.”
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley called the test “absolutely unacceptable and irresponsible,” noting that North Korea has violated “every single security council resolutions [it] had.”
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