Trump rules out talks with N Korea but Mattis disagrees

RSTV Bureau
Fayetteville : President-elect Donald Trump, left, listens to retired United States Marine Corps General James Mattis after appointing Mattis as upcoming Secretary of Defense while speaking to supporters during a rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. AP/PTI

File Photo: US President Donald Trump with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis.  AP/PTI

US President Donald Trump has ruled out any talks with North Korea, which fired a ballistic missile that flew over Japan. But the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that there was still room for diplomacy in dealing with North Korea’s ballistic missile launches.

The missile flew over Hokkaido island before crashing into the northern Pacific Ocean. This is the first time North Korea has fired what is thought to be a ballistic weapon over Japan.

“The US has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!” Trump tweeted.

Hours later, Defense Secretary Mattis said that the US was not out of diplomatic solutions yet on North Korea.

File Photo: This image made from video of a still image broadcast in a news bulletin by North Korea's KRT on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, shows leader Kim Jong Un at what was said to be a "Combined Fire Demonstration" held to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the North Korean army, in Wonsan, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this photo.

File Photo: This image made from video of a still image broadcast in a news bulletin by North Korea’s KRT on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, shows leader Kim Jong Un at what was said to be a “Combined Fire Demonstration” held to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the North Korean army, in Wonsan, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this photo.

“No…We’re never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis told reporters when he was asked about Trump’s tweet.

“Secretary Mattis, you have often said you seek a diplomatic solution to North Korea. The president this morning tweeted that talking isn’t the answer. Are we out of diplomatic solutions for North Korea?” Mattis was asked.

“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,” Mattis added.

A day earlier, Trump had warned a defiant North Korea that all options were on the table.

(With inputs from agencies)