TOKYO â€” U.S.
“I want there to be no misunderstanding during the transition in Washington that we stand firmly, 100
Earlier in the day, in Seoul, with his South Korean counterpart, Han Min Koo, at his side, Mattis said, “the United States stands by its commitments, and we stand with our allies, the South Korean people.” He also explicitly warned North Korea against using a nuclear weapon, saying such an act would be met with a response that is “effective and overwhelming.”
These were the only two stops on Mattis’s first overseas trip since taking office Jan. 20. He said he chose to go to Japan and South Korea first in order to demonstrate that nothing will weaken the U.S. security promises.
During the last year’s U.S. presidential campaign, Trump complained that
In Seoul on Friday, Mattis was firm in stating that Washington will not waver in the face of defiant progress by North Korea toward developing a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and hitting the U.S.
“North Korea continues to launch missiles, develop its nuclear weapons program, and engage in threatening rhetoric and
“We stand with our peace-loving Republic of Korea ally to maintain stability on the peninsula and in the region,” he added. “America’s commitments to defending our allies and to upholding our extended deterrence guarantees remain ironclad: Any attack on the United States, or our allies, will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming.”
The U.S. has 28,500 troops in South Korean and about 50,000 in Japan, including on the island of Okinawa, where Mattis served as a young Marine officer in the early 1970s.
Throughout his time in Seoul and Tokyo, Mattis repeated his criticisms of North Korea and stressed that the Trump administration is committed to carrying through on a deal the Obama administration reached with the Seoul government last year to deploy a high-end U.S. missile
The Terminal High-Altitude Area
The current South Korean government supports THAAD deployment, but China has pushed hard to change that.
On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated China’s opposition to THAAD at a regularly scheduled briefing.
“We have resolute opposition to the deployment of THAAD to South Korea by the U.S. and ROK, which remains unchanged and will not change,” the statement said, using initials for the Republic of Korea. “Such actions by the U.S. and ROK will jeopardize security and the strategic interests of regional countries, including China, and undermine the strategic balance in the region.”
In his remarks Friday, the South Korean
The Trump administration is reviewing the U.S. approach to North Korea, along with other aspects of U.S.
Corrects title of missile system to Terminal High-Altitude Area
Robert Burns, The Associated Press