In an explicit warning to North Korea, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Friday said any use of nuclear weapons by the North on the United States or its allies would be met with what he called an “effective and overwhelming” response. U.S. defense secretaries have long offered assurances to South Korea and Japan that its nuclear “umbrella” will protect them,

but Mattis’s statement was perhaps more pointed than most. He made the remarks during an appearance with his South Korean counterpart, Defense Minister Han Min Koo. “North Korea continues to launch missiles, develop its nuclear weapons program, and engage in threatening rhetoric and behavior,” Mattis said with Han standing at his side and U.S. and South Korean flags at their backs. READ MORE