Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Thursday that the United States wants a diplomatic solution to its ongoing tension with North Korea.
Mattis told reporters in Mountain View, Calif., that the American effort is focused on diplomacy, the Associated Press reports. However, he said, he is responsible for having military options.
He also pointed out that the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously last week to sanction North Korea, and label its bellicose statements a "threat to the world’s community."
"How often do you see France, China, Russia, the U.S. voting unanimously on any issue?" Mattis asked.
War would, to Mattis, of course be tragic.
"It doesn’t need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic," he said.
The Secretary of Defense's comments come during a series of escalating threats exchanged between the government of North Korea and President Donald Trump. When it became public knowledge Tuesday that North Korea had successfully miniaturized nuclear warheads, Trump responded by warning the Koreans that they would be met with "fire and fury" if they threaten the U.S.
A Korean general dismissed Trump's threat, while the military announced it would roll out a plan to strike the American protectorate of Guam by mid-August. Trump, in turn, doubled-down, saying that perhaps his "fire and fury" comment wasn't "tough enough" in public comments just hours before Mattis's.