In Congressional testimony, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said North Korea's advancing missile and nuclear programs were "the most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security." Moreover, “North Korea's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them has increased in pace and scope."
This statement comes on the heels of yet another series of missile launches by the authoritarian regime of Kim Jong Un. Last week, North Korea fired what appeared to be several land-to-ship missiles off its east coast according to South Korea's military. It is the latest in a fast-paced series of missile tests defying world pressure to rein in its weapons program.
In his June 12th written statement to the House Armed Services Committee, Secretary Mattis said the North Korean regime’s “nuclear weapons program is a clear and present danger to all, and the regime’s provocative actions, manifestly illegal under international law, have not abated despite United Nations’ censure and sanctions.”
Earlier this month, the U.N. Security Council expanded targeted sanctions against North Korea after its repeated missile tests, adopting the first such resolution agreed to by both the United States and China since President Donald Trump took office.
The U.S. is determined to meet the threat posed by North Korea and to defend it allies in the region. As Secretary Mattis made clear in Singapore, “Our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan, to include the employment of our most advanced capabilities, is ironclad.”
Moreover, in response to the vow by Pyongyang to develop a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile, the U.S. will take further steps to protect the homeland, as demonstrated by the recent successful ballistic missile defense test.
As Secretary Mattis has said, “Any attack on the United States or on our allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with the response that would be effective and overwhelming.”