NEW DELHI – US Defence Secretary Jim Mitts on Tuesday said the United States wanted to settle the issue on nuclear crisis diplomatically with North Korea, toning down war of words between two countries.
“We maintain the capability to deter North Korea’s most dangerous threats but also to back up our diplomats in a manner that keeps this as long as possible in the diplomatic realm,” he said in New Delhi after meeting his Indian counterpart.
“That is our goal, to solve this diplomatically, and I believe that President Trump has been very clear on this issue,” the US defence secretary said.
Tension escalated between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un after the North exploded sixth nuclear bomb and test-fired intercontinental missiles.
The concerns over Pyongyang’s nuclear programmes were also raided at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Mattis further said, “We continue to maintain the diplomatically-led effort in the United Nations. You have seen unanimous United Nations Security Council resolutions passed that have increased the pressure, economic pressure and diplomatic pressure, on the North”.
On Monday, the North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho speaking to reporters in New York said Pyongyang has every right to take countermeasures against US aggression, including shooting down warplanes, even if they are not in North Korean airspace.
He added that US President Donald Trump has effectively declared war on Pyongyang, meaning all options were on the table for his country’s leadership.
“The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” the international media quoted him as saying.
“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.”
Last week, Donald Trump whil speaking at the UN General Assembly said that while the “United States has great strength and patience,” it may have “no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if the US or its allies are threatened.