After North Korea launched a missile that landed near Japan, President Donald Trump said that “all options” are on the table as a response to the perceived aggression. In addition, Defense Secretary James Mattis held a previously scheduled meeting on Wednesday at the Pentagon with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo, reportedly to discuss the latter’s request to double its ballistic missile firepower to counter the threat from nuclear-armed North Korea.

The Korea Times reported that an unnamed South Korean presidential official claims that the U.S. may send more military equipment to South Korea, including stealth fighters such as the F-35B, B-1B and B-52 bombers,as well warships such as destroyers and submarines.

Trump blasted North Korea on Tuesday, saying that its "threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime's isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table."

Also on Tuesday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told reporters, "No country should have missiles flying over them like those 130 million people in Japan." The former South Carolina governor said that North Korea has "violated every single U.N. Security Council resolution that we've had and so I think something serious has to happen."

According to David Wright of the pacifist Union of Concerned Scientists, North Korea fired what appeared to be a Hwasong-12 missile on Monday, which was similar to one tested on May 14. The Hwasong-12 has a range of about 3,000 miles, but because it flew only 1,700 miles on Monday it may mean that North Korea may have used a heavier payload than the previous test.

Currently, the joint U.S.-South Korean Ulchi-Freedom Guardian military exercises are continuing through Thursday. More than 20,000 US and South Korean forces are participating. Some experts theorize that the exercise may have prompted the missile launch.

On August 16, Trump's then-chief strategist, Steve Bannon, reportedly told the American Prospect that: "There's no military solution [to North Korea's nuclear threats], forget it." Just two days later, the White House that Bannon no longer worked in the administration.

Bannon, a Navy veteran, continued, saying “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul [South Korea] don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us."

In addition, Bannon told The American Prospect that America is losing its economic race against China.

Following a tweet by Trump that said that "talking is not the answer" to North Korea, Defense Secretary Mattis said on Wednesday that diplomacy is still possible. He told reporters in South Korea, "No, we are never out of diplomatic solutions." Referring to the South Korean defense minister, "We continue to work together, and the minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nations, our populations, and our interests, which is what we are here to discuss today."



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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