Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday contradicted President Trump’s latest comment about abandoning diplomacy with North Korea, during a meeting with his South Korean counterpart.
When asked about it, Mattis rejected the idea that the U.S. was ready to take talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un off the table after the North’s ballistic missile test launch over northern Japan on Monday — after a tweet from President Trump that said of relations with the regime, “Talking is not the answer!”
“We’re never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis said. “We always look for more. We’re never complacent.”
Mr. Trump’s tweet had complained that the U.S. “has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years.”
The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!
Mattis, accompanied by South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-Moo, may have distanced himself from the president’s tweet but he declined to be specific about how the U.S. would deal with the North.
“We continue to work together,” Mattis said. “And the minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nations, our populations and our interests, which is what we are here to discuss today and look for all the areas we can collaborate with already very strong collaboration.”