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Secretary of Defense Mattis: ‘Opportunity for talks’ if North Korea stops testing, developing and exporting nuclear weapons

US Department of Defense
US Department of Defense

(WASHINGTON) — There could be an “opportunity for talks” between the United States and North Korea, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Thursday, if North Korea halts its nuclear tests, development and exports.

Speaking to reporters during a trip to visit U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Mattis said that “as long as they stop testing, stop developing, they don’t export their weapons, there would be opportunity for talks.”

But on Thursday, Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White gave a briefing in which she could not speculate on an apparent sudden pause in North Korea’s nuclear activities.

“Our policies remain to have the verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” White said. “So it’s a diplomatic effort. We’ll continue to support our diplomats and ensure that they can negotiate from a position of strength.”

“I think it’s perilous to predict anything about what North Korea does or doesn’t do,” she added. “But we’re continuing to monitor the situation.”

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