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Mattis explains how close the US is to war with North Korea



North
Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

REUTERS/KCNA

Asked on Thursday by Rep. Tim Ryan of the House Appropriations
Committee to explain why the US doesn’t just go to war to stop
North Korea from developing the capability to hit the US,
Secretary of Defense James Mattis painted a grim scenario.

“I would suggest that we will win,” Mattis said. “It will be a
war more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we’ve
seen since 1953.

“It will involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital, which
is one of the most densely packed cities on earth,” Mattis said
of Seoul, South Korea, which boasts a metro-area population of 25
million.

“It would be a war that fundamentally we don’t want,” Mattis
said, but “we would win at great cost.”

Mattis explained that because the threat from North Korea loomed
so large and a military confrontation would destroy so much, he,
President Donald Trump, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had
all made a peaceful solution a top priority.

Mattis said the topic of North Korea dominated Trump’s meeting in April
with President Xi Jinping of China, North Korea’s only ally, and
that the US intended to make China understand that “North Korea
today is a strategic burden, not a strategic asset.”

China argues it has limited influence on Pyongyang, but as one
expert explained, Beijing could at any moment cripple North Korea
through
trade means
, forcing it to come to the negotiating table.


North Korea artilleryStratfor

Mattis made clear that the US was nearing the end of its rope in
dealing with North Korea, saying: “We’re exhausting all possible
diplomatic efforts in this regard.”

North Korea recently taunted
Trump
by saying it was capable of hitting New York with a
nuclear missile, but Mattis said a war today would hurt our Asian
allies.

“It would be a serious, a catastrophic war, especially for
innocent people in some of our allied countries, to include Japan
most likely,” Mattis said.


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