Mattis: US Will Overwhelmingly Respond to Any Nuclear Weapons Use

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called out Kim Jong Un's North Korea for its acts of provocation, saying the only reason for the United States to deploy the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea is to counter Pyongyang's threats. He added that any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with a overwhelming response.

"The U.S. defense secretary warned North Korea on Friday that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an "effective and overwhelming" response".

Stephen Nagy, an associate professor of worldwide relations at Tokyo's global Christian University, says North Korea's development of an ICBM or submarine-launched ballistic missiles are a "game-changer" - but that instead of a stepped-up response to North Korea, Trump's reactions are in line with the latter days of Barack Obama's presidency.

"Faced with a current severe security situation, Secretary Mattis' visit to Korea ... also communicates the strongest warning to North Korea", Han said. -South Korea alliance "the linchpin of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region".

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"I wanted to make certain that Article Five of our mutual defence treaty is understood to be as real to us today as it was a year ago, five years ago, and it will be a year and 10 years from now", he said in remarks at the start of their meeting.

USA defense secretary, retired General, Jim Mattis is strengthening ties with the his country's allies in Asia.

Han expressed similar concerns about North Korea's nuclear and missile programs on Friday, which he said threaten the global community and have resulted in a "severe security situation" on the Korean peninsula.

Once fully developed, a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) could threaten the United States, which is about 5,500 miles from North Korea.

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THAAD is a land-based, vehicle-mounted system developed by Lockheed Martin with a "globally-transportable, rapidly-deployable capability to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight", according to the Defense Department's Missile Defense Agency.

Former U.S. officials and other experts have said the United States essentially has two options when it comes to trying to curb North Korea's fast-expanding nuclear and missile programs - negotiate or take military action. The effort was beginning in South Korea, where Mattis also visited the headquarters for USA troops stationed here.

Russian Federation has not been as vocal as China in its opposition to the missile defense system, which Beijing claims is being used for monitoring purposes. "I think there is hope in [South] Korea and Japan that Mattis and [Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson will become a center of gravity for USA foreign policy decision making in Asia at least", James Schoff, senior fellow in the Carnegie Asia Program, told Foreign Policy.

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