The US secretary of defense says he “cannot imagine” the US ever accepting North Korea as a nuclear state, and claimed that possessing nuclear arms makes Pyongyang vulnerable rather than more secure. The Pentagon head spoke after a week-long trip to America’s allies in Asia, culminating in a visit to the DMZ, or demilitarized zone, the tense border between South and North Korea. After meeting his counterpart, Song Young-moo, Mattis said Washington would not back down in its pressure on North

Korea over its development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. “I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States would accept North Korea as a nuclear power,” he said in Seoul on Saturday. Mattis stressed that the military pursuit of North Korea, which Pyongyang says is needed to protect the nation from a possible attack by the US and its allies, would actually undermine its security and threatened a “massive military response” to the use of nuclear weapons by North Korea. READ MORE