In prepared testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said “The most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security is North Korea. North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them has increased in pace and scope,” “The regime’s nuclear weapons program is a clear and present danger to all, and the regime’s provocative actions, manifestly illegal under international law, have not abated despite United Nations’ censure and sanctions,” he added.
Mattis made these statements shortly after North Korea conducted their 10th missile test of the year, most recently a medium range cruise missile. North Korea’s testing of arms are at an all-time high, easily surpassing the rate of testing under Obama North Korea missile tests.
Upon questioning by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Mattis said war with North Korea would be a “war like nothing we’ve seen since 1953.”“It would be a very, very serious war,” he added. Because Seoul South Korea is home to 25 million people, and is so close, a war with the North could be catastrophic. Citizens (including approximately 300,000 Americans) would be “within range of thousands of rockets, missiles and artillery pieces along the border.” “In that conflict, we will see casualties, unlike anything we’ve seen in 60 or 70 years, and many of those casualties will be in the first three, five, seven days of the war where all those people in the Greater Seoul area will be exposed to that North Korea threat that we will not be able to mitigate initially.”