Mattis: "Any use of nuclear weapons by the North will be met with a massive military response that is effective and overwhelming"
SEOUL, South Korea — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday the threat of nuclear missile attack by North Korea is accelerating.
In remarks in Seoul with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo at his side, Mattis accused the North of illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear programs — and vowed to defeat any attack.
Mattis said North Korea engages in "outlaw" behavior and that the U.S. will never accept a nuclear North.
He added that regardless of what the North might try, it is overmatched by the firepower and cohesiveness of the decades-old U.S.-South Korean alliance.
"North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs," he said, adding that U.S.-South Korean military and diplomatic collaboration thus has taken on "a new urgency."
"I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States would accept North Korea as a nuclear power," he said.