U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued a stern warning to North Korea on Saturday: Despite its ongoing missile and nuclear programs, it is simply no match for the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

“Make no mistake,” Mattis said during a news conference in Seoul, “any attack on the United States or our allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons by the North will be met with a massive military response that is effective and overwhelming.”

During the joint appearance with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo, Mattis acknowledged that the threat of a nuclear missile attack by North Korea was accelerating.

The CIA says North Korea could be just months away from being capable of hitting the U.S. with a nuclear strike, Reuters reported.

Mattis accused the regime of Kim Jong Un of illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear programs — and vowed to defeat any attack.

He said the North engages in “outlaw” behavior and that the U.S. would never accept a nuclear North. He added that regardless of what the North might try, it is overmatched by the firepower and cohesiveness of the decades-old U.S.-South Korean alliance.

“North Korea has accelerated the threat that it poses to its neighbors and the world through its illegal and unnecessary missile and nuclear weapons programs,” Mattis said, adding that U.S.-South Korean military and diplomatic collaboration thus has taken on “a new urgency.”

“I cannot imagine a condition under which the United States would accept North Korea as a nuclear power,” he said.

As he emphasized throughout his weeklong Asia trip – which comes ahead of President Donald Trump’s own scheduled tour of East Asia next week — Mattis said diplomacy remains the preferred way to deal with the North.

Mattis’s comments in Seoul did not go beyond his recent statements of concern about North Korea, although he appeared to inject a stronger note about the urgency of resolving the crisis.

While he accused the North of “outlaw” behavior, he did not mention that President Donald Trump has ratcheted up his own rhetoric. In August, Trump warned the North not to make any more threats against the United States, and said that if it did, it would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”Continue reading.