Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Wikimedia Commons
In a Wednesday statement, Defense Secretary James Mattis warned the North Korean regime that it would lose in an armed conflict against the United States:
“The DPRK regime's actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates,” Mattis said. His statement came just a day after North Korean officials said the regime was considering a strike on the U.S. territory Guam.
North Korea's nuclear activities could, Mattis argued, “lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.” While the State Department intended to resolve the situation through diplomacy, Mattis suggested that the overwhelming capabilities of the U.S. military and its allies would demolish North Korea.
As was previously reported, President Donald Trump warned North Korea that additional threats toward the U.S. would result in retaliation:
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
According to a report from the Defense Intelligence Agency, North Korea manufactured a miniaturized nuclear warhead, which can fit inside long-range missiles capable of reaching the U.S.
News of the regime's capability comes against the backdrop of several provocative missile and nuclear tests. In July, the U.S. Department of State confirmed that North Korea had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. And according to The Washington Post, the hermit nation has tested five nuclear weapons since 2006.
In September 2016, the regime tested a bomb with a blast estimated at twice the size of the one detonated over Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II.
The country also, according to another intelligence assessment, is estimated to have at least 60 nuclear weapons.
North Korea's actions drew a punishing response from several of the world's major countries. On Saturday, for example, members of the U.N. Security Council approved new economic sanctions on the regime.