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Pentagon chief: US will repel any strike from North Korea

30 Oct 2017 | By Anupama Vijayakumar
What are US options with North Korea?

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has now warned that the nuclear threat from North Korea is accelerating.

Speaking in Seoul alongside South Korean defense minister Song Young-moo, Mattis stated that any attack from North on US or its allies will be met with a "massive military response."

He also highlighted diplomacy as a means to handling Pyongyang.

What are US options with North?

In context: What are US options with North Korea?

21 Oct 2017CIA chief: 'North Korea on the cusp of nuclear capability'

On 21 October, Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency has warned that North Korea is on the cusp of gaining full nuclear capability to target the US.

Pompeo also said that Washington preferred diplomacy in dealing with Pyongyang, while keeping the military option open.

North Korea had earlier tested an Inter-continental ballistic-missile (ICBM) which purportedly could target continental US.

30 Oct 2017Pentagon chief: US will repel any strike from North Korea

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Latest eventsGrowing nuclear threats from North Korea

In July, North Korea tested an ICBM which purportedly brought the entire US within its strike range.

In August, it threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the US-Pacific territory of Guam in response to Trump threatening it with "fire and fury."

In September, Pyongyang tested a Hydrogen-bomb in its sixth and most powerful test and fired a second missile over Japan.

DetailsWhat did Mattis say?

"North Korea has accelerated the threat that emanates from its "illegal and unnecessary nuclear weapons program," said Mattis.

The US would never accept Pyongyang as a nuclear power, he added.

"Any attack on the US or our allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons will be met with a massive military response that is effective and overwhelming," he further added.

DetailsUS-South Korea alliance grows stronger amid North Korea threat

South Korean leadership and public have become increasingly uneasy over growing nuclear threat from Pyongyang.

In this regard, Song revealed that US and South Korea have been strengthening Seoul's defense capabilities through new acquisitions and lifting payload limits on nuclear warheads.

Song further said that US and its allies have "sufficient means" to respond to a nuclear attack.

Mattis: Military options intended to supplement diplomatic efforts

"Our military options as I mentioned are designed to buttress the diplomats' efforts to maintain a deterrence stance and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula," Mattis said. He added that the "military options are intended to realistically reduce that threat as low as possible."
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Editor's takeWhat are the US options with North Korea?

1) Diplomacy: Involves bringing Pyongyang to the negotiating table with the help of allies like China and convincing them to de-nuclearize.

2) Military strike: US-led military action to eliminate/neutralize threat from Pyongyang's nuclear assets; highly risky for Japan, South Korea and US.

3) Nuclear option: A pre-emptive decapitating nuclear strike on Pyongyang's assets and its leadership or a nuclear response to a missile launch.