Mattis at the DMZ highlights difference between 2 Koreas: ‘Our goal is not war’

by WorldTribune Staff, October 27, 2017

Standing at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) just meters away from North Korea, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Oct. 27 said the United States seeks the “irreversible denuclearization” of North Korea, but “not war.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-Moo visit Observation Post Ouellette in Paju near the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone on the border between North and South Korea on Oct. 27. / AFP

“As Secretary of State Tillerson has made clear, our goal is not war but rather the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Mattis said during a visit to the 2.5-mile wide strip of land separating the two Koreas.

Mattis spotlighted the “stark difference” between the two Koreas, saying the North is held back by an “oppressive regime” that shackles its people, while the South enjoys a vibrant, thriving democracy and free society.

Mattis recalled a meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-Moo in the Philippines on the sidelines of an ASEAN security forum earlier this week.

“Two days ago at the ASEAN meeting we made clear our mutual commitment to a diplomatic solution to address North Korea’s reckless, outlaw behavior,” Mattis said.

The South Korea defense chief emphasized that the Kim Jong-Un regime’s ballistic and nuclear arms are “weapons that can’t be used.”

“If it does, it will face retaliation by the strong combined force of South Korea and the U.S.,” Song said.

The minister said he and the secretary were at the DMZ to confirm the ironclad alliance “without a single inch of error.”

He called on Pyongyang to return to inter-Korean dialogue as soon as possible.

Yonhap reported there is speculation that Pyongyang and Washington “are in secret contact to explore dialogue.”

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