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Defense Secy. Mattis: North Korea ICBM Doesn’t Bring U.S. ‘Closer to War’

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General Mattis

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon on Thursday said that North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile does not bring the U.S. closer to war with the DPRK.  

“I do not believe this capability in itself brings us closer to war because the president's been very clear, and the secretary of state's been very clear, that we are leading with diplomatic and economic efforts," Mattis told reporters.

He said that the U.S. is prepared to respond with military action in order to uphold its security alliances with Japan and South Korea, however.

"We stand ready to provide options if they are necessary," the defense secretary said.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley similarly did not make threats of military action during an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.

While she called the ICBM launch “a clear and sharp military escalation,” Haley called for stronger diplomatic measures to hold the DPRK accountable, including punishing countries who do business with the "outlaw regime.”

President Trump in Poland on Thursday warned of “some pretty severe” consequences. He did not elaborate on his warning.  

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