National Security

Mattis Warns North Korea to Avoid Actions That Would Lead to the ‘Destruction of Its People’

James Mattis / Getty
James Mattis / Getty

Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday called on North Korea to stand down in its pursuit of nuclear weapons or risk taking actions that would "lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people."

"The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack," Mattis said in a statement. "Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council's unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability."

The U.N. Security Council on Saturday voted 15-0 to impose new sanctions on North Korea that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called "a gut punch" to Pyongyang.

"The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons," Mattis continued. "The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people."

Mattis' statement came one day after President Donald Trump delivered a stern warning to North Korea that has gained widespread attention.

"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," Trump said. "[Kim Jong Un] has been very threatening beyond a normal statement, and as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before."

Mattis noted that while the State Department is trying to tackle the North Korea issue through diplomatic means, "it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed, and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth."

The statement concluded with a final warning: "The DPRK regime's actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates."