North Korea: US diplomacy is gaining results, says Mattis

Secretary Mattis says US is 'ready' to counter North Korean threat

Secretary Mattis says US is 'ready' to counter North Korean threat

Speaking at an event in California on Thursday, Mattis said his mission and responsibility was to have military options ready "should they be needed" but stressed the U.S. effort is now focused on diplomacy.

"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", he said in a statement.

North Korea will continue to be grossly overmatched by the USA and its allies, he said, "and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates".

HORSLEY: Last weekend, the U.N. Security Council unanimously agreed to tough, new sanctions on North Korea.

He made it clear that while the State Department is pursuing "diplomatic means" with Pyongyang, "North Korea will be grossly overmatched by the USA and its allies" and would lose any arms race it starts. "The whole of the Security Council has come together behind that, and I think that we should see the President's public comments as one of the strands, one of the many strands of USA activity".

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told The Chronicle in an interview that he was confident that there are experts giving Trump advice on the volatile North Korea situation, even if the president has been bellicose in his Twitter attacks on the rogue nation.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday that Americans had "nothing to fear" from Trump's remarks, and that they had instead been an attempt to use language that Kim Jong Un "would understand".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is expected to deliver a speech next week to mark Liberation Day, when the Korean peninsula secured freedom from the rule of Japan. North Korea says it will "keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the U.S".

Trump has stated that he is prepared to engage in all-out war if North Korea launches its missiles.

The Pentagon chief on Wednesday issued a carefully worded statement telling North Korea it would be "grossly" outmatched in any conflict with the United States, and warning Pyongyang to stop considering any action that risked "the destruction of its people".

North Korea has announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers, a move that if carried out would be its most provocative missile launch to date.

But it also said that if the USA and South Korea took a first strike against North Korea, China should intervene.

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