- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday said North Korea’s pursuit of a nuclear arsenal is taking the rogue regime down a path that will end with its destruction and that of its people, echoing the strong language coming from the Trump White House.

The former Marine Corps four-star general said the size and scope of the American military’s arsenal, both in conventional and nuclear capabilities, will leave North Korea “grossly overmatched” should war break out between Pyongyang and the U.S. on the peninsula.

North Korea’s nuclear ambitions “poses a threat to global security and stability… . [and] should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people,” Mr. Mattis said in a statement.

His comments came after President Trump vowed to rain down “fire and fury” on the regime, should Pyongyang’s provocations continue.

Mr. Mattis also acknowledged the ongoing efforts by U.S. diplomats to ratchet back tensions between the Washington and the North. That said, “it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth,” Mr. Mattis said.

Pyongyang’s efforts to develop a nuclear-capable ballistic missile arsenal “will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates,” the Pentagon chief said, adding Washington and its allies in the Pacific “have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack.”

SEE ALSO: North Korea threatens attack on U.S. bases on Guam

His comments come hours after regional reports claim that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his top military aides were openly considering a strike against U.S. forces in Guam. Those threats came on the back of recent reports by the Washington Post that Pyongyang had successfully developed a nuclear warhead small enough to be deployed on its growing cache of long-range ballistic missiles.

• Carlo Muñoz can be reached at cmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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