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5. Mattis hints at military options on N.Korea

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has hinted at the existence of military options with regard to North Korea that would not put Seoul at grave risk.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Mattis noted that North Korean missiles have flown over northern Japan and fallen in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Mattis said that Pyongyang deliberately carried out tests that came as close as possible to provoking the United States without eliciting a military response.

Without going into detail, the secretary added that the US has found military options to protect its allies.

He suggested that those options could spare the South Korean capital from being put at grave risk.

Mattis's remarks are believed to arise from concern that a North Korean counter-attack in response to a US pre-emptive strike would result in massive bloodshed on the Korean Peninsula.

The secretary was asked whether he had discussed with South Korean officials the possibility of redeploying tactical nuclear weapons of the US military in the South.

Mattis acknowledged discussing that with the South Korean side, saying that the US has open dialogue with its allies on any issue that they want to bring up.
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