US Defense Secretary James Mattis told US Army leaders to “stand ready” for a military option in case the diplomatic efforts with North Korea fail.

James Mattis

James Mattis Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

US Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday urged the US Army to be prepared for a military confrontation with North Korea.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Association of the US Army, Mattis said the current strategy should be “diplomatically-led,” but added that “neither you nor I can say” what the future holds.

“There’s one thing the US Army can do, and that is you have got to be ready to ensure that we have military options that our president can employ if needed,” he said.

Trump, Kim

Trump, Kim Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

On Sunday, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un boasted about his country’s nuclear weapons, saying they provide a “powerful deterrence” that will ensure North Korea’s sovereignty.

Mattis’ remarks come just days after US President Donald Trump told reporters that this could be “the calm before the storm,” leading some to speculate that he was alluding to an upcoming war.