Hours after North Korea’s latest, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said that any threat to the U.S. “will be met with a massive military response.”
“Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, will be met with a massive military response — a response both effective and overwhelming,” Mattis said.
Mattis said that all members of the U.N. Security Council “unanimously agreed on the threat North Korea poses” and remain committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
While he said America does not seek the “total annihilation” of the North, he added, “We have many options to do so.”
Mattis, who did not take questions from reporters, said he had attended a “small group” national security meeting with President Trump and others. He said the president wanted to be briefed on each of what Mattis called “many military options” for action against North Korea.
“We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attacks, and our commitments among the allies are ironclad,” he said.
Earlier, President Trump raised the stakes in the escalating crisis over North Korea’s nuclear threats, suggesting drastic economic measures against China and criticizing ally South Korea.
“The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea,” he also tweeted.
North Korea claimed “perfect success” Sunday in an underground test of what it called a hydrogen bomb — potentially vastly more destructive than an atomic bomb. It was the North’s sixth nuclear test since 2006, but the first since Mr. Trump took office in January.
Mr. Trump, asked by a reporter during a trip to church services if he would attack the North, said: “We’ll see.”
No U.S. military action appeared imminent, and the immediate focus appeared to be on ratcheting up economic penalties, which have had little effect thus far. Members of Congress expressed alarm at the North’s test and emphasized strengthening U.S. missile defenses. Leaders in Russia, China and Europe issued condemnations.
The precise strength of the underground nuclear explosion had yet to be determined. South Korea’s weather agency said the artificial earthquake…