U.S. Defense Secretary Warns North Korea of 'Massive Military Response' to Any Attack

Mattis said Washington is not looking for 'total annihilation,' but has 'many options to do so'

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, makes a statementregarding the escalating crisis in North Korea's nuclear threats, Sept. 3, 2017.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Sunday threatened a "massive military response" to any attack on the United States or its allies after North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date

Speaking outside the White House, Mattis said: "Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming." 

Mattis said Washington was not looking for the "total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea. But as I said, we have many options to do so." 

North Korea on Sunday conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, which it said was of an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long-range missile, marking a dramatic escalation of the regime's stand-off with the United States and its allies.

Mattis warns of 'massive military response' to NKorea threat Fox News

Washington responded aggressively, with President Donald Trump refusing to rule out military action and threatening to cut off trade with any country doing business with Pyongyang.

Asked while leaving a church service whether the United States would attack North Korea, Trump replied: "We'll see."