In his first televised interview since becoming the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis discussed the potential for war with North Korea, as well as the repercussions of such a conflict, with CBS News’ “Face the Nation” over the weekend.

The Defense Secretary addressed the potential for war with burgeoning nuclear power North Korea as potentially “catastrophic” when asked by “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson.  The nation has been in the headlines consistently throughout President Trump’s time in office, as Kim Jong Un continues his pursuit of nuclear weapons and reliable missile platforms that can deliver them to targets all over the world.  Depictions of nuclear tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles, Kim’s ultimate goal, raining down on U.S. cities pervade official North Korean media and have even been included in state celebrations.

Although President Trump has made it clear that his intent is to pursue a diplomatic solution to the simmering tensions on the Korean peninsula brought about by Kim’s nuclear pursuits and rampant threats levied at America and its allies, he has also made statements in the past indicating that he would be willing to authorize a unilateral military strike against the small Asian nation if it came to it.

“A conflict in North Korea, John, would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes,” Mattis told CBS News.  Although North Korea currently lacks the strike capability to reach the Mainland United States, they have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to target local allies in South Korea and even Japan with traditional and potentially nuclear ordinance.