US defense chief meets with South Korean defense minister

ABC News' Amna Nawaz recaps the meeting, where Secretary of Defense James Mattis said the U.S. is not out of diplomatic solutions for North Korea, with analysis from Luis Martinez and Conor Finnegan.
11:38 | 08/30/17

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Transcript for US defense chief meets with South Korean defense minister
Hi everyone I'm in Abbas here in New York you saw there secretary of defense. General mad S meeting his South Korean counterpart for the very first time. An official meeting there in Washington DC an answering some very could quite key questions. Of course these two countries will continue to work together and that heightens tensions with North Korea let's break it all down right now with two of my colleagues joining us. At the Department of Defense Willie Martinez who covers the Pentagon for ABC news an over at the State Department Connor then again thanks for being here guys. I really over do you firth let's talk a little bit about this because obviously. This meeting is happening on the heels of a very. A correct sit act by North Korea. Tuesday there was a missile launch. Over Japan just Tommy broke picks are the headlines from this what do we know about that launching what it represents for the threat to the US. Was is a very provocative act on the basis of them and missile was fired from just outside Pyongyang very rare that actually happens. This is an intermediate range missile it flew about 700 miles. Over the northern island of Hokkaido that's the northernmost island of Japan. Went about 500 nautical miles east of that island. The significance there is that this is really rare war retreat the fire a missile directly over Japan's main islands. Highly provocative given Japan estate North Korea don't do something like that. As their progressive missile launches this year gotten closer and closer. Two Japanese territory. Obsolete what are we seeing here is a continuing test by North Korea of its missile program and what we saw last night was. Photos and videos of I can young African Union un watching this launch and then a statement saying that this is only the first step. That there will be more launches into the Pacific and specifically. Once again bringing Guam into the equation that's the US territory in the South Pacific where the US that. Large military bases and he topic Kenyon on talked about containing Guam in the threat posed. By by the aggressive US policy. So despite what we saw from the UN Security Council last night condemning. That North Korean missile launch. We can likely now expect even further provocations from North Korea. And it's it's going to be interesting to see that dynamic between the US response which we just heard here from secretary Mattis is gonna continue to be. Diplomacy. Because that's what we've heard from him and we've heard from secretary Tillerson corporate state farm we'll. Talk a little bit about that we have a treat from the president this morning sharing the latest on his views about how the US should be approaching relationships. Winds North Korea. The president tweeted this morning basically heat descended diplomacy isn't working anymore the US has been talking to North Korea he wrote and paying them extortion money for 25 years. Talking is not the answer -- over to you with the State Department talking is exactly what Rex Tillerson is tasked with doing and we know there been diplomatic back channels. Going on even in the last several weeks. What's the latest on diplomacy are they out of options. The view here is that death and not that they're out of options. As he said secretary tourists and has been gung ho. Continuing. To. Seek a diplomatic solution. To the crisis in North Korea. It's something that the entire administration. Apparently accept the present at this point has viewed as the only solution really. Short of the military option which is I think that they want to to get into. To listen calls it his peaceful pressure campaign. And he's actually seeing some successes. Lou we mentioned the UN Security Council resolution last night the Security Council also voted for sanctions earlier in August. And secretary Mattis. Just earlier mentioned the easy on summit where the group of southeast Asian countries who have close ties to North Korea. Also condemned North Korea for its ballistic missile. And nuclear program so. They will continue to pursue diplomatic talks. With the with the ultimate goal of do you nuclear as in the peninsula. Despite what the president that this morning. Well Lou let me ask you about this because obviously we just heard secretary not S there as well. Contradict the president's tweet this morning basically saying wit there's still diplomatic options in the military chief by the way thing yes there is absolutely still. It diplomatic approach to be taking here. But the US itself has been conducting its own missile defense system cat's tongue a little bit about that it what it means. About what how the US is facing the military act. While the US has this ballistic missile defense system it Cullen based approach where they can take down a missile let's it as a going up into its launch phase. When it's over in the in the middle of its trajectory or it headed down. Towards target. The US has a system that's been in place now for about ten years and continues to test. Every facet of that system shall we saw last night was an eighty component that system where they have missile interceptors aboard the navy destroyers that are on the Pacific. I'm and we solid test target missile fired from Y and missiles fired from the job while Jones destroyer out there and civic and it intercepted. That system. So what we have here is this the bank collected ballistic missile defense system that could potentially if ordered by the president. I shoot down a North Korean missile at any point and its trajectory. But of course this is something that when you look at it looks like it's a little tit for tat but all of these exercises uses conducted at a lot of these exercises involving. For the first time in ICBM target. Oh that was very successful. We also saw additional targets. Involving. Ian boost phase interceptors involving the navy ships and all of these exercises are all long planned. And so it when you look at it looks like it's just a little give and take back and forth between US and North Korea but it's a lot of times it's just coincidence and tiny. Which sometimes may ratchet up the tensions on the north Koreans because they see all of these. Exercise by the US as provocative actions themselves. And of course we saw the rhetoric escalated in prisons from the canyon on earlier this month. We saw how that won't play out and so it's one of those things where it's a very delicate posturing between the United States in Eritrea about how. Situations can for she along. The when he did this kind of territory. Lake's boat right it's the actions and the words and we heard from the North Korean. The agency after the missile launch that they cited both as reasons for wanting to conduct outlined Conner when he at your take on this because. We heard there from that from North Korean state agency in their response that yes there launch was because the US and South Korea were conducting joint military exercises. But also that they were keeping an eye on US demeanor and statements and that those kinds of things. Could provoke further action that's sort of a thinly veiled reference to a lot of the posturing coming from the president himself. So if there's still a diplomatic off ran when you have a president who continues. To be afraid to ramp up the rhetoric. It's a good question. I think the answer is yes though as Louis mentioned. It was just two weeks ago that the world scene on edge about a potential conflict between the US and North Korea. Good president trump make number of remarks over the course of the week. Fire and fury locked and loaded and yet it was within d.s. You know North Korea actually kind of fell from the headlines again. So what's interesting is that the diplomacy. And you know the presence of of a military deterrent. From the US will continue. No matter what the president says and this isn't the first time that it you know presidential tweet. Has seemed to sort of upset the US's strategy earlier in June present trump tweeted that China. While trying to pressure North Korea. Eats we do that it hadn't worked that he knew at least China tried. That pressure campaign still continues on China though it was within a couple of things that secretary chosen had to go out and the State Department had to make clear that. Nothing is changing their policy again despite what the president said. The kind of let me put back on all of that because North Korea may have fallen from the headlines after the last ramping up her rhetoric between Kent island. And president trump but it seems as if they were just waiting for a moment to do exactly what they did on Tuesday that isn't there are concerned that next time. They could go even further. Definitely I mean the idea that you know there could be a miscalculation. That can lead to some sort of military conflict is not hyperbole anymore. You know that that we used to know. That. The US had a certain position and would stand for certain things. But what the president is unpredictable and with you know. Military leader in North Korea who's watching his every move that's definitely always the chance that things just get out of hand. Well let's talk a little but about that we leave because obviously we heard general Mattis talk about this as well that it's not just about the US his own safety it's about the safety of our allies he made that ironclad commitment again. To his counterpart from South Korea but the North Korea after apparent missile launch basically said that the launched attacks that they had over Japan and had no impact on the security. Of neighboring country that can balance mean what does that me. It shows you there live in their little world if it. Because. That is the propaganda that they're pushing out and IBCA caused consternation in the region. You that the president talking with the Japanese prime minister you have the president talking the South Korean president Amy Ilya for the launch. Because he want to present a unified front on its. So it is obvious that there is concern about what that North Korea is dealing hurt secretary Madison talk about unity. On your national community if either last night corporate. Last couple of weeks as we saw the ratcheting up attentions. But it even more concerning I think is yet the notion that that miss provocative missile launch or in Japan. Me be followed by additional actions now the question becomes this is a missile launch that. For conceivably could have reached Guam this is an intermediate range missile not the ICBM can reach the United States Connolly state. But one that could reach Guam. And that we saw the tensions rise win that escalating rhetoric between president canyon mine went. That finished Wayne union and several we're gonna an attempt to launch more missiles. In in the waters off of law. Eventually they backed down. And we shoppers in Tron highlighting as saying that need now opinion on respects the United States. Or the escalating rhetoric from the United States but if if he does let's say try to now launch missiles towards Guam that's an even further escalation in only her for secretary knives a couple weeks ago wise. You know if that happens and that's game on. Case the game whenever you try to fire somebody missiles at somebody's territory. There will be your response. I mean that way it pretty significant language from Addis and you hear him today talking about the policy because yes that's what the administration wants. That's what the international community wants to resolve this. It's escalate its escalates even further. You know by launching missiles towards Guam who knows. What could happen at that point. Who knows very strong language very serious concerns. On both fronts there will be watching of course from here we Martinez at the Pentagon Connor vacant State Department thanks pat. Thank you thanks and thanks to all of you for watching as well remember you can go to Anytime for continuing coverage of that story. And many more don't forget president trump is expected to be delivering remarks later today from Missouri we'll have that right here for you live as well until then I'm on the nod penalty back here soon.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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