Source: Asia Times
“We are never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis said before a meeting with his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon. “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.”
The seeming mixed message came as the US and South Korea wound up their annual war games on Thursday, an event that mobilises thousands of troops and military simulations in the South to repel an attack from the North.
The 10-day exercise usually generates protests from Pyongyang, which says the war games are a precursor to an invasion of the North, and demonstrations of its own military prowess, such as the missile test this week.
Meantime, media reports suggesting North Korea is preparing for another underground nuclear weapon test that could come as early as Sept. 9 couldn’t be corroborated by satellite views of Pyongyang’s Punggye-ri test site, reported 38 North.
The date is a national holiday in North Korea for the founding of the state and is the day chosen to hold the country’s fifth nuclear test last year, said 38 North, which provides analysis of North Korea.
While the Punggye-ri test site seems to be in a high state of readiness, there is no observable evidence that a test is imminent, 38 North said, citing satellite images taken on August 27, 2017.