Defense Secretary James Mattis warned in a recent interview that a war with North Korea would be “the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.” He also deemed the possible conflict “catastrophic” amid rising tensions in the Pacific.
Mattis Warns of ‘Catastrophic’ War’ if Diplomacy Fails
Mattis’ warning comes shortly after president Donald Trump said an armed “major, major conflict” with the isolationist nation is very likely. The retired general discussed the consequences of one such conflict if that scenario was to become reality.
He explained what makes the conflict so terrible: North Korea is equipped with a plethora of rocket launchers and artillery cannons within the range of the country’s capital – Pyongyang – which is also one of the planet’s most populated cities.
Mattis thinks the communist regime could destabilize the entire region as it could wage a war against South Korea, Japan, and pose a threat to Russia and China too. He warned that if the United States’ diplomacy fails to maintain peace in the region, tensions could escalate to a “catastrophic war.”
North Korea has been irking the U.S. and its allies in the region with its nuclear missile tests. Pyongyang claims it needs the tests for self-defense purposes against the “imperialist” forces and rhetoric in the region. In recent weeks, the North Korean military performed a series of intermediate-range ballistic missile tests, of which the first was deemed as the most successful.
Pyongyang now claims that its missiles can carry nuclear warheads, and the country’s leader Kim Jong Un recently said that it has the U.S. West Coast within “sighting range”.
Washington Should Take Action against N. Korea
A few days ago, military officials warned that Kim could inch closer to developing a long-range nuclear weapon that could hit the U.S. mainland, if his tests are not halted. Mattis confirmed that North Koreans improve their arsenal with each new test.
He thinks the communist regime is a “direct threat” to the United States and allied nations in the region. Mattis too believes the U.S. should not wait for Pyongyang to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that is able of carrying a nuclear warhead.
The retired general refused to give a deadline for Washington to take action. He underlined that he doesn’t want to place a “timeline” on the threat, but he added that he would rather stay silent about the issue because the U.S. may know “things” Pyongyang isn’t even aware of.
On Monday, North Korea launched its third missile test in nearly as many weeks. The missile splashed into the ocean after traveling 248 miles. The landing site was in the area where Japanese commercial ships operate. The Japanese government confirmed the missile landed in its exclusive economic zone.
South Korean and Japan criticized Pyongyang’s missile testing. The Prime Minister of Japan threatened with “concrete action” while South Korea’s military officials vowed to retaliate with a “strong punishment.”
North Korea is currently at its 9th missile test, with a dozen missiles having been fired since the start of the year. In the first six months last year, it had only 10 missile launches.
Image Source: defense.gov