Missile force of Korean People's Army attend a military parade in central Pyongyang, April 15, 2017. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Saturday showcased its military muscles by parading all of its most-advanced ballistic and tactic missiles, including a submarine-launched ballistic missile which could strike targets 1000 km away. (Xinhua/Cheng Dayu)
WASHINGTON, July 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday that the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) does not bring the United States and the DPRK "closer to war."
"I do not believe this capability in itself brings us closer to war because the president's been very clear, the secretary of State's been very clear, that we are leading with diplomatic and economic efforts," said Mattis to reporters at the Pentagon.
While stressing that the United States remains "in a diplomatic effort engaging allies and partner nations across the board," Mattis said that the U.S. military stands ready to provide options if they are necessary.
Mattis'remarks came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump said at a press conference earlier Thursday in Warsaw, Poland, that he was considering "pretty severe" responses to the DPRK's ICBM test.
Trump did not mention what "pretty severe" responses could be. However, in the past months, Mattis warned on several occasions that a conflict on the Korean Peninsula would be "the worst kind of fighting" in most people's lifetimes, and that military solution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale."