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Mattis: Diplomacy still leads in effort to denuclearize N. Korea

2017/09/20 22:51

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday that diplomacy will still take the lead in efforts to denuclearize North Korea.

Speaking at a military conference near Washington, Mattis said the Pentagon "fully supports" that campaign by ensuring military options also exist.

"It is still a diplomatically led effort," he said, pointing to the U.N. Security Council's recent adoption of two sanctions resolutions against Pyongyang.

"You see it as a primary effort of the United Nations General Assembly meetings going on this week in New York," he said. "We continue to press on the diplomatic level. That includes economic sanctions. But at this time we must also recognize the somber reality that military options must be available in order to protect our allies and ourselves."

   North Korea has ratcheted up tensions by firing a series of ballistic missiles and conducting a sixth nuclear test earlier this month.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Trump said in an address to the U.N. General Assembly that the U.S. may have no choice but to "totally destroy" North Korea if it is forced to defend itself or its allies.

This AP file photo shows U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. (Yonhap) This AP file photo shows U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr

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