Days after North Korea threatened to test a nuclear weapon above ground, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis visited the Demilitarized Zone that divides that country from South Korea and declared: “Our goal is not war.”
On Friday, he visited the heavily fortified border area, where U.S. and South Korean troops maintain a constant presence opposite North Korean forces. Mattis stressed the need for a “diplomatic solution” to the tensions with Pyongyang, which have been building under President Trump, who has repeatedly sent more provocative signals, especially on Twitter.
“North Korean provocations continue to threaten regional and world peace, and despite unanimous condemnation by the United Nations’ Security Council, they still proceed,” Mattis said. “As Secretary of State [Rex] Tillerson has made clear, our goal is not war but rather the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”