Secretary of Defense James Mattis went to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea to tell the everyone in earshot — including the nearby North Korean troops — that while the U.S. and her allies want peace, we’ll continue to be strong enough for war.

Mattis made the off-the-cuff comments repeatedly Panmunjom “truce village” within the DMZ, which he had arrived in by Black Hawk helicopter, according to NBC News.

“We’re doing everything we can to solve this diplomatically — everything we can,” said Mattis.

However, while the Defense Secretary wanted to stress peace, he was not about to show weakness.

“Ultimately, our diplomats have to be backed up by strong soldiers and sailors, airmen and Marines,” he added, “so they speak from a position of strength, of combined strength, of alliance strength, shoulder to shoulder.”

But while Mattis’s end game is peace with the North, he had no qualms about telling the truth about them right to the soldiers standing just on the opposite side of the border. During the speech he called Kim Jong Un’s government “an oppressive regime that shackles its people, denying their freedom, their welfare and their human dignity in pursuit of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery in order to threaten others with catastrophe.”

This will be Mattis’s first visit to the the DMZ, where he will later meet with Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss defense options with South Korean officials.

According to NBC News, “they are expected to admonish North Korea, vow to strengthen allied defenses, and discuss prospects for eventually giving South Korea wartime control of its own forces.”

Trump is also expected to travel to the Korean Peninsula next month, and will be bringing with him a large show of force, including three of the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier strike groups.

North Korea’s constant defiance of the U.S. and the U.N. in regard to its nuclear weapons program — including the test launching of missiles purposely meant to antagonize the U.S. and its allies — has made tensions between the allied nations and the communist country so thick you could cut it with a knife.

The North’s misbehavior has gotten so bad that their primary ally, China, has gotten tired of the schtick. Both Kim Jong Un, and China’s Prime Minister Xi Jinping are reported to not like each other at all, and Kim’s constant antagonism has interfered with Xi’s plan for a prosperous China.

If this continues, China may attack North Korea before the U.S. even gets a chance to.