Mattis Just Hinted At Secret 'Kinetic' Military Options For North Korea

Mattis Just Hinted At Secret 'Kinetic' Military Options For North Korea

Last week, North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile that travelled 2,300 miles and passed over the Japanese island of Hokkaido before landing in the northern Pacific.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera was quoted as saying by AP that Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor unit was deployed at the Hakodate base on southern Hokkaido "as a precaution" as part of government preparations for a possible emergency.

But Mizuseki declined to confirm where in Japan other PAC-3 systems were deployed, citing the sensitive nature of defence information.

North Korea has threatened to "sink" Japan into the sea and said Saturday it sought military "equilibrium" with arch-enemy the United States by developing a full nuclear arsenal.

For his part, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he would "never tolerate" the North's "dangerous provocative action" and has urged the worldwide community to ramp up pressure on Pyongyang.

China and Russian Federation - both permanent members of the UN Security Council - voted for the new sanctions against North Korea last week, but they are both against tough measures that will topple Kim Jong-un's regime and agreed to cooperate over the matter.

An official directly familiar with options planning within the Trump administration told CNN the question that now needs to be answered is whether North Korea's missile program has progressed to the level of being such an inherent threat that the Pentagon would recommend targeting a missile even if its trajectory did not indicate it would hit the United States or its allies.

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Abe's editorial was published before world leaders gather in NY for a United Nations General Assembly meeting this week, where North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes are expected to loom large over proceedings.

Asked at an off-camera briefing at the Pentagon if there are military options that would not put Seoul at "grave risk?"

North Korea's state-run news agency, KCNA, yesterday released photos it claimed were of the latest missile test.

"The bottom line is that in the missiles, were they to be a threat, whether it be the U.S. territory Guam, obviously Japan, Japan's territory, that would elicit a different response from us", he said.

The White House said on Monday that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump spoke over the phone about keeping up the pressure on North Korea using economic sanctions imposed through the United Nations.

"Number one, those missiles are not directly threatening any of us", Mr Mattis said.

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