Trump has thrown diplomacy out the window as he speeds towards confrontation with North Korea, but the Defense Department hasn’t given up yet on talking its way towards peace. In a recent statement, Secretary of Defense General Mattis has directly contradicted the President’s recent tweet that declared, “Talking is not the answer!” Appearing jointly with his South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo, Mattis told the press that “we’re never out of diplomatic solutions” when it comes to Pyongyang.
“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 today,” he explained. Not only did Mattis counter Trump’s declaration, he seemed to undercut the President’s perspective on the matter. “Look for all the areas we can collaborate,” Mattis said. “There is already very strong collaboration, we always look for more, we are never complacent.”
South Korea sent a strong message to Pyongyang on Monday with a live-fire test on a test range near the North Korean border. The drill came immediately after North Korea tested a missile by firing it northeast over the Japanese island of Hokkaido, a move that North Korean state media described as a warm-up for an attack on Guam. The North Korean launch was, according to Pyongyang, “The first step of the military operation of the (North Korean military) in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson echoed Mattis’ commitment to diplomacy when he spoke to Fox News Sunday: “We continue to want the Kim [Jong Un] regime to understand there is a different path he can choose.”
(Via The Hill)