US Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley made clear Monday what a bind the US is in when it comes to solving the challenge of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, stating there are "no risk-free options" but said there is also not an "indefinite amount of time" to solve the crisis. He said, "I'm not going to address the specifics of that discussion but what I will tell you is that it is a ROK-US alliance commitment to make sure that they safeguard operations and plans". So there's one thing the U.S. Army can do.
Addressing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's effort to reach out to Pyongyang and United Nations sanctions against the President Kim Jong Un's rogue regime, Mattis said U.S. military readiness can act as a deterrent.
"It is right now a diplomatically, economic-sanctions-buttressed effort to try and turn NKorea off of this path", he said.
He emphasized that now, Washington resorts to diplomacy, adding that the UN Security Council twice in a row voted unanimously in favor of imposing stronger sanctions on Pyongyang over its ballistic and nuclear missile launches. "The U.S. Army must stand ready".
American President Donald Trump has engaged in weeks of taunts with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, calling the dictator "Rocket Man" and saying the United States would "totally destroy" North Korea, if necessary, to protect itself and its allies if Pyongyang attacks.
"Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn't work!", Trump tweeted on Monday.
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During the meeting, Mattis and Dunford gave a briefing to Trump and his national security team on North Korea. The messages seem to suggest that the president considers military action the most viable approach to handling North Korea. It has around 40,000 military personnel in Japan, roughly 2,600 of which are in the Army.
Trump has vowed to protect America against such a threat and has called for a denuclearized North Korea.
North Korea has fired 22 missiles during 15 tests since February, drawing a sharp reaction from the U.S. and its allies.