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Home | World | Mattis in South Korea amid US 'aggressive deployment'

Mattis in South Korea amid US 'aggressive deployment'

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Mattis in South Korea amid US 'aggressive deployment'
 South Korea defends the “aggressive deployment” of US strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula as Pentagon chief James Mattis visits the heavily fortified border between the North and South Korea.
President Moon Jae-in said Friday that the US deployment has been effective in deterring North Korea which has stepped up its nuclear and ballistic missile tests in the face of harsh rhetoric from US President Donald Trump. 
Standing inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas, Mattis said there is no change in US policy towards North Korea which he accused of building a nuclear arsenal to "threaten others with catastrophe." 
"We stand shoulder to shoulder with you and the Korean people in confronting the threats posed by the Kim Jong-un regime," Mattis said alongside his South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo.
Nevertheless, the US remains committed to a "diplomatic solution," he said, adding “our goal is not war but rather the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
Mattis has already said the US is prepared to take military action if the North does not halt its development of missiles that could strike the entirety of the United States, potentially with a nuclear warhead. 
The Pentagon chief is set to hold an annual military meeting in Seoul on Saturday during his two-day trip, which comes ahead of a planned trip by Trump to South Korea next month.
Separately, North Korea said it will release on Friday a South Korean fishing boat that was found to be in North Korean waters illegally.
North Korea “decided to repatriate the boat and its crew from the humanitarian point of view, taking into account the fact that all the crewmen honestly admitted their offense, repeatedly apologizing and asking for leniency,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Friday.
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