Mattis cagey on military solution to North Korea

Global markets jolted by Trump's fiery warning to North Korea

Global markets jolted by Trump's fiery warning to North Korea

Deviating from the tone of President Trump, who said the USA would unleash "fire and fury" upon North Korea, Mattis stressed that the route forward would be diplomatic, and he repeated the importance of the unanimous 15-1 United Nations Security Council vote to impose economic sanctions on North Korea.

Mattis made the remarks to reporters at an event in California on Thursday, adding that the USA prefers a diplomatic approach to the North Korean threat.

"The tragedy of war is well enough known", Mattis said, responding to a question about the human toll of a nuclear confrontation between the DPRK and the U.S. "It does not need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic".

Mattis's comments came shortly after President Donald Trump warned North Korea it should be "very, very nervous" if it thinks of attacking America, and doubled down on a vow to rain "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it continued to threaten the US.

It says North Korea will complete a plan by mid-August for the "historic enveloping fire at Guam", convey it to the commander in chief of its nuclear force and then "wait for his order".

Global markets jolted by Trump's fiery warning to North Korea

"As tensions escalate with North Korea, we must remind ourselves that military action, and risking American soldiers' lives, should never be the first response".

And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made clear he is open to negotiations if Pyongyang freezes its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile last month for the first time, and USA intelligence agencies assess that Pyongyang is capable of producing a compact nuclear warhead and putting it atop a long-range missile.

Mattis referred to that two-track policy on Wednesday.

"It's [North Korea's] aligning the United Nations in very serious sanctions, and I would just tell you that it did not happen by accident", Mattis said.

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