Standing just a few yards away from North Korea, Defense Secretary James Mattis on Friday criticized the country’s “reckless behavior,” adding that the United States and South Korea were committed to a “diplomatic solution,” CNN reported.
Mattis spoke during a visit to the demilitarized zone that divides the two Korean nations As he spoke with his back to North Korea, Mattis said the goal of the United States is not war but rather “the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
"North Korean provocations continue to threaten regional and world peace and despite unanimous condemnation by the United Nations' Security Council they still proceed," Mattis said.
Mattis’ trip to South Korea comes a week before President Donald Trump’s visit to Asia next week, CNN reported. The defense secretary spoke to troops at the Yongsan garrison after his visit to the DMZ.
“Ultimately our diplomats have to be backed up by strong soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines,” he said. “So they speak from a position of strength, of combined strength, of alliance strength. Shoulder to shoulder, (South Korea) and the U.S. together.
“You just keep working together and show the world we can do it and we'll buy time for our diplomats to solve this problem, OK?”