Defense Secretary James Mattis downplayed President Trump’s assessment Wednesday that there has been enough “talking” to North Korea over the last 25 years trying to rein in their weapons programs.
"The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!" Trump tweeted.
However, Mattis told reporters when asked about the tweet that, “we’re never out of diplomatic solutions.”
"We continue to work together and the minister and I share responsibility to provide for the protection of our nation our populations and our interests, which is what we are here to discuss today,” said Mattis, who appeared with South Korea Defense Minister Song.
“And look for all the areas we can collaborate – there is already very strong collaboration, we always look for more, we are never complacent.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made similar remarks Sunday about how the U.S. will be responding to Pyongyang, saying “peaceful pressure” would continue to be applied.
“We continue to want the Kim [Jong Un] regime to understand there is a different path he can choose," Tillerson told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."
"There is a unified international voice echoing our message that no one wants to see a nuclearized Korean peninsula, so we’re all unified in our message to see a denuclearized Korean peninsula. We hope for the opportunity to engage with them as to how we might achieve that."
The president and Mattis’s remarks come after North Korea launched a ballistic missile early Tuesday that flew over Japan.