Mattis says he and Trump are on same page regarding North Korea
- Author: Rogelio Becker Sep 05, 2017,
Sep 05, 2017, 19:37
The drills, involving four US stealth F-35B jets as well as South Korean and Japanese fighter jets, came at the end of annual US-South Korea military exercises focused mainly on computer simulations.
North Korea, which claims Washington has long threatened it by flaunting the powerful USA nuclear arsenal, describes the long-range B-1Bs as "nuclear strategic bombers" although the United States no longer arms them with nuclear weapons.
Trump responded on Twitter, stating, "The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years".
The dueling military displays open up the risk that things will get worse as each side seeks to show it won't be intimidated.
The videos showed two types of new missiles with ranges of 497 miles and 310 miles being fired from truck-mounted launchers during three tests conducted on Thursday.
Mattis on Thursday explained to reporters he was answering the question that was asked, which was: "Are we out of diplomatic solutions for North Korea?" - and not a question about the president's tweet. And Japanese military aircraft flew over Japanese waters in the 10-hour operation.
Pyongyang has also threatened to fire rockets towards the US Pacific territory of Guam.
"North Korea's actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland, and their destabilizing actions will be met accordingly", Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces.
In Beijing, North Korea's ally China warned that war is not an option in finding a solution to the North's growing nuclear capabilities.
The Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, the 11-day joint military exercises the United States and South Korea completed Thursday, involved tens of thousands of USA and South Korean troops, although the exercises were conducted largely through computer simulations.
North Korea will no doubt be watching the world's reaction to see if it can use Tuesday's flight over Japan as a precedent for future launches. It reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia at large.
"In a few months, that will be a reality", Le Drian said, "At that moment, when it has the capability to hit the us, even Europe and at the very least Japan and China, with a nuclear weapon, the situation will be explosive". The Pacific island is home to some of Washington's most powerful military hardware.
South Korean F-15s conducted a similar bombing drill over the same range on Tuesday, hours after a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile from North Korea flew over northern Japan and splashed into the Pacific after a flight of almost 1,700 miles.
"Diplomatic is a lot more than just the narrow slice of talking to North Korea", he said.
A statement from Seoul's presidential office confirmed that shortly after the North's latest test was detected, South Korea discussed deploying American strategic assets to the peninsula so the South does not have to rely on powerful hardware being scrambled from Guam, such as B-1B bombers. It also flight-tested a pair of developmental ICBMs in July. On a recent trip to the region, he said the military's main goal is supporting US efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
"The North's intention was to push the boundaries of its military presence farther from the Korean Peninsula and Japan and into the wider Pacific, and they practically drew the line at Guam with their missile threat", he said.
The United States, Japan, and South Korea are going to call for an worldwide embargo, which will block oil exports to North Korea, according to an August 30 report from Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei Asian Review.