Amid the recent rise in tensions between North Korea and America, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stated that he still has confidence in the diplomatic efforts on Pyongyang. “We will continue to work diplomatically,” he added.

Jim Mattis

Jim Mattis Photo Credit: EPA-EFE

Speaking at the Pentagon alongside Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Seraj on Thursday, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stated that the diplomatic efforts on North Korea will continue.

“I am not willing to say that diplomacy has not worked,” he explained. “We will continue to work diplomatically, we will continue to work through the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council and we will be unrelenting in that.”

Nevertheless, Mattis added that the US has already prepared military plans. “At the same time, our diplomats will speak from a position of strength because we do have military options,” he said.

The tensions between Washington and Pyongyang increased earlier this week in the aftermath of North Korea’s most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile test. The isolated state claims that the missile is capable of striking the U.S. mainland.

During an emergency UNSC meeting on Wednesday evening, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley warned that North Korea’s recent actions have brought “the world closer to war” and issued a direct threat to Pyongyang: “If war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”