As Mattis peers into North Korea, he gets warning on artillery

By REUTERS
October 27, 2017 13:01
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DEMILITARIZED ZONE, South Korea - As US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis peered into North Korea from a lookout post on Friday, he was given a blunt reminder by his South Korean counterpart of the vast amount of North Korean artillery within range of Seoul.

Above the faint sound of North Korean propaganda music being blasted from across the border, South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo suggested that US and South Korean missile defenses simply could not stop all of them.

"Defending against this many LRAs (long-range artillery) is infeasible in my opinion," Song told Mattis, citing a need for strategies to "offensively neutralize" the artillery in the event of a conflict.

Mattis replied: "Understood."

The brief exchange at the inter-Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) - where US.President Donald Trump may visit in coming days - spoke volumes about the risks of any miscalculation as tension soars over Pyongyang's rapidly advancing nuclear weapon and missile programs.

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