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New U.S. defense chief warns North Korea on nuclear weapons

Friday, February 03, 2017 - 00:56

U.S. Secretary of Defence, Jim Mattis, warns North Korea of an ''effective and overwhelming'' response if Pyongyang chose to use nuclear weapons.

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(ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Donald Trump's defense secretary warned North Korea on Friday (February 3) of an "effective and overwhelming" response if Pyongyang chose to use nuclear weapons, as he reassured Seoul of steadfast U.S. support at the end of a two-day visit. "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," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said at South Korea's defence ministry. Mattis' remarks come amid concern that North Korea could be readying to test a new ballistic missile, in what could be an early challenge for Trump's administration. North Korea, which regularly threatens to destroy South Korea and its main ally, the United States, conducted more than 20 missile tests last year, as well as two nuclear tests, in defiance of U.N. resolutions and sanctions. "North Korea continues to launch missiles, develop its nuclear weapons program and engage in threatening rhetoric and behavior," Mattis said. North Korea's actions have prompted the United States and South Korea to respond by bolstering defences, including the expected deployment of a U.S. missile defence system, known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), in South Korea later this year. South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-koo reaffirmed plans to deploy THAAD and said Mattis' visit to Seoul - his first trip abroad as defence secretary - sent a clear message of strong U.S. support. "Secretary Mattis' visit to South Korea and the meeting show our determined will to respond to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. And this will be the strongest warning to North Korea," Han said.

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New U.S. defense chief warns North Korea on nuclear weapons

Friday, February 03, 2017 - 00:56