After President Trump issued a strongly worded threat to Kim Jong Un’s North Korean regime, concerns that the United States may be inching closer toward war with North Korea continue to rise.  Although Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to assuage some of these concerns in his own public statements since, it would seem the president’s remarks represented more than his own frustrations with North Korea, but may have also marked a shift toward a firmer, more aggressive tone to U.S. statements to, and about, the reclusive Asian state.

Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, has repeatedly emphasized that diplomacy is his preferred option when dealing with the North Korean threat, but in the days since a new U.S. Intelligence report claims Kim Jong-un’s regime has successfully miniaturized their nuclear devices sufficiently to mount them on ballistic missile platforms, rhetoric from the United States has grown significantly more assertive, and it would seem James Mattis is no exception.

“Kim Jong-un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree [North Korea] poses a threat to global security and stability,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

U.S. experts believe North Korea will likely have a fully functional nuclear capable ICBM as early as the end of this year, even after their most recent long range missile test seemed to show signs that the missile re-entry vehicle failed to survived the rigors of passing back through the earth’s atmosphere on its way to its intended target.

Mattis, who has previously characterized a war with North Korea as a conflict that would be “probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes,” released a new statement on Wednesday that says in no uncertain terms that the United States and its allies are prepared to go to war if need be, and moreover, they’re prepared to win.

Read the full official statement from Defense Secretary James Mattis below:

Mattis in Seoul: Use of nukes by NK 'will be met by a massive military response'

Read Next: Mattis in Seoul: Use of nukes by NK 'will be met by a massive military response'

The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack. Kim Jong-un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council’s unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability.  The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons.  The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.

President Trump was informed of the growing threat last December and on taking office his first orders to me emphasized the readiness of our ballistic missile defense and nuclear deterrent forces. While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth.  The DPRK regime’s actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.”

Image courtesy of the Department of Defense