WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday said following the meeting with his South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo that Washington would never accept a "nuclear North Korea," adding that Pyongyang "accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors in the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs."
"Diplomacy remains our preferred course of action. As I have repeatedly emphasized our diplomats are most effective when backed by credible military force in this sort of situation," Mattis said after holding talks with South Korean Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo, as quoted in Pentagon’s statement.
Security Consultative Meeting kicks off with a handshake between #SecDef and his #ROK counterpart to underscore ironclad commitment to the #alliance. @DeptofDefense @MOFAkr_eng @ROK_MND pic.twitter.com/aRL1j8RIS8— The Joint Staff (@thejointstaff) 28 октября 2017 г.
After the meeting, the Pentagon issued a written statement saying that the US and South Korean governments have decided to expand cooperation, including joint research to improve the implementation of deterrents against Pyongyang, for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
The sides will also continue supporting the two governments’ diplomatic efforts aimed at denuclearizing North Korea, according to the statement.
North Korea has conducted six nuclear test this year and continues to refine its ballistic missile technology through a series of missile launches.