Mattis: Military solution to N. Korea would be ‘tragic on an unbelievable scale’

May 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, May 19 (Yonhap) — U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Friday that the U.S. and its partners are working to find a non-military solution to the problem of North Korea because military options would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale.”

“We’re going to continue to breed the same kind of pressure internationally that we’ve been trying to. We’re going to continue to work the issue. As you know, if this goes to a military solution, it is going to be tragic on an unbelievable scale,” Mattis said.

“So our effort is to work with the U.N., work with China, work with Japan, work with South Korea to try to find a way out of this situation. And we press on. There’s many different efforts underway,” he said a news conference at the Pentagon.

Mattis said that the North is not listening to international warnings.

“We’re all aware of the provocative actions they’ve taken, and there have been cautions given them by nations from around the world. They clearly aren’t listening,” he said, referring to Sunday’s successful testing of a new intermediate-range ballistic missile.

The launch demonstrated a big stride in Pyongyang’s pursuit of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The North said that it fired the missile at the highest angle in consideration of security of neighboring countries, and the missile reached the maximum altitude of more than 2,111.5 kilometers before landing in the East Sea 787 km away.

Experts said the missile could have flown about 4,500 km if it had been fired at a normal angle. The distance to Hawaii, headquarters for U.S. military operations in the Pacific, is 7,400 km.

jschang@yna.co.kr

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