On Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis spoke to reporters on the plane on his way to the Middle East and condemned North Korea’s latest missile test, saying that it was an attempt to “provoke something.”
“The leader of North Korea again recklessly tried to provoke something by launching a missile,” Mattis said, as quoted by the Associated Press.
Reuters reported that Mattis also said that North Korea’s latest action “shows why we are working so closely right now with the Chinese… to try to get this under control and aim for the denuclearized Korean peninsula.”
According to the AP, Mattis said that the missile was not of intercontinental range so it would not have been able to reach U.S. land, however, he did not specify exactly which type of missile it was. He also didn’t comment on what may have caused the test to fail.
Over the weekend, the U.S. military released a statement saying that they were aware that North Korea launched a missile test on Saturday that failed within moments. Secretary Mattis issued a concise statement on the matter.
“The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment,” the statement said.
On Tuesday while making the comments, Secretary Mattis was en route to Saudi Arabia, where he will begin a weeklong tour of the Middle East. When asked by reporters about his visit to Saudi Arabia, Mattis called the nation “pillar of our security framework for the region.”