Mattis Warns of War if N.Korea Fires Missiles at U.S.

  • By Cho Yi-jun

    August 16, 2017 11:03

    U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday warned that if North Korea fires at the U.S., "it could escalate into war very quickly." 

    He told reporters at the Pentagon that the U.S. will know whether North Korean missiles are headed for Guam "within moments," in which case "we'll take it out."

    James Mattis /AP-Yonhap

    The North last week unveiled plans to surround the U.S. territory in the Pacific with "enveloping fire."

    "If they shoot at the United State, I'm assuming they hit the United States. If they do that, it's game on," he added. "You don't shoot at people in this world unless you want to bear the consequences."

    But he declined to be more specific. "I need a certain amount of ambiguity on this, because I'm not going to tell them what I'm going to do in each case."

    "War is up to the president, perhaps up to the Congress," he added. "The bottom line is we will defend the country from an attack."

    On Aug. 9, Mattis warned that the North's military actions "will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours" and it "would lose any arms race of conflict it initiates." He urged Pyongyang to "cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people."

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