The United States and Japan on Thursday urged North Korea to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons while Defense Secretary James Mattis warned Pyongyang that both countries will respond with overwhelming force if it attacks first.
“Together, we will deter and if necessary defeat any threat,” Mattis said in a news conference with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and their Japanese counterparts, following a meeting at the State Department. “Any initiation of hostilities will be met with an effective and overwhelming response.”
Tillerson said the U.S. will continue to work diplomatically for negotiations that end with denuclearization.
“At some point, with the international, unified message we’ve never had before, they will realize their isolation,” he said of North Korea. “And the future of that isolation is bleak, and will only become bleaker.”
Japan’s foreign minister Taro Kono said they agreed to call on China to take “specific measures to make North Korea change its behavior,” leading to a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Both Tillerson and Kono also offered condolences for the loss of life and injuries in Barcelona where a van was driven into pedestrians. Tillerson said the incident “has the hallmarks, it appears, of yet another terror attack.”
The United States is ready to offer law enforcement and other help, and the U.S. Embassy in Barcelona is helping Americans who may be affected, Tillerson said.