As diplomatic efforts between the United States and North Korea seemed to be breaking down while, at the same time, tensions between the two countries keep rising, many officials worry that a lack of diplomacy will only increase the risk of military action in the region.
This morning General James “Mad Dog” Mattis visited Panmunjom “Truce Village” on the frontier between North and South Korea. On his first visit to the demilitarized zone Secretary of Defense Mattis brought a message of peaceful diplomacy, not war.
Stepping out of a Black Hawk helicopter, Mattis told the troops, “We’re doing everything we can to solve this diplomatically — everything we can.” He added, “Ultimately, our diplomats have to be backed up by strong soldiers and sailors, airmen and Marines, so they speak from a position of strength, of combined strength, of alliance strength, shoulder to shoulder.”
Mattis repeated the words of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who visited the region in March saying, “Our goal is not war.”
On Saturday, Mattis will be joined by General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for an annual consultation with South Korean defense officials.
President Trump is scheduled to travel to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Hawaii between November 3-14 where he will “call on the international community to join together in maximizing pressure on North Korea,” the White House said in a statement.
During his visit, Presient Trump will emphasize his commitment to U.S. alliances and partnerships, attend events at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.