War with North Korea would be tragic: US military chief

Al Jazeera

Military action on the Korean peninsula would be ‘tragic on an unbelievable scale’, Pentagon chief James Mattis says.

James Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine General Joseph Dunford hold a press briefing on Friday [Yuri Gripas/Reuters]

US defence chief James Mattis delivered a sombre caution on North Korea saying any military attempts to resolve the crisis would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale”.

Mattis was speaking on Friday to reporters at the Pentagon, days after North Korea test-fired what analysts say was its longest-range rocket yet.

Despite tough talk from top US officials in recent weeks and the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group to the region, Mattis said the best option for North Korea is finding an international solution to effectively apply pressure on Pyongyang.

“As you know, if this goes to a military solution, it is going to be tragic on an unbelievable scale, and so our effort is to work with the UN, work with China, work with Japan, work with South Korea to try to find a way out of this situation,” he said.

OPINION: Is war coming to North Korea?

North Korea is accelerating efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

Kim Jong-un reacts with scientists and engineers after Sunday’s successful missile launch [KCNA via Reuters]

Though Mattis said Pyongyang isn’t listening to cautions from the international community, he credited China’s efforts to apply pressure as having some limited influence.

“There appears to be some impact by the Chinese working here,” he said.

Mattis said the rocket tested Sunday had gone extremely high and North Korean scientists likely learned a lot from the test. But he would not say if it was clear the missile made a controlled re-entry from outside the atmosphere.

In North Korea on Friday, thousands of residents lined the streets to give the scientists and workers behind Sunday’s missile test a hero’s welcome, state media reported.

Even without its missiles, North Korea has amassed artillery units along its border with South Korea and any military action from Pyongyang could be devastating.

The capital, Seoul, is only about 55km away and the North could rain shells onto the city of 10 million.

READ MORE: North Korea threatens to sink approaching US carrier

North Korea’s deputy UN envoy said on Friday the United States needed to roll back its “hostile policy” towards the country before there could be talks between the pair.

“As everybody knows, the Americans have gestured [toward] dialogue,” North Korea’s Deputy UN Ambassador Kim In-ryong told reporters. “But what is important is not words, but actions.”

“The rolling back of the hostile policy toward DPRK is the prerequisite for solving all the problems in the Korean peninsula,” he said. “Therefore, the urgent issue to be settled on Korean peninsula is to put a definite end to the US hostile policy toward DPRK, the root cause of all problems.”

North Korea is also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

US President Donald Trump warned in an interview with Reuters news agency in late April a “major, major conflict” with the North was possible, but he said he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute over its nuclear and missile programmes.

Trump later said he would be “honoured” to meet the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, under the right conditions.

Thae Yong-ho: Interview with a North Korean defector – 101 East

Source: News agencies

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This entry was posted in US - North Korea relationship and tagged by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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