Trump Administration Sends Mixed Messages On North Korea

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Defense Secretary James Mattis warned North Korea on Wednesday that when combined the USA and its allies have "the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth".

Responding to a North Korea's threat to fire four missiles in the waters off the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, home to U.S. military bases, Trump vowed a tough response. "However, right now, Secretary Tillerson, Ambassador Haley, you can see the American effort is diplomatically led, it has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results", Mattis said. His comments punctuate President Donald Trump's warning that North Korea will be met with "fire and fury" if it threatens the U.S.

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.

A number of US allies, including Australia and Japan, have said that they're prepared to stand with Trump and will take military action against North Korea if Jong Un launches an attack against Guam, according to Fox News.

The announcement Thursday warned that the North is preparing a plan to fire four of its Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into waters around the tiny island, which hosts 7,000 US military personnel on two main bases and has a population of 160,000.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has urged calm, saying he sees no "imminent threat" of attack.

"The tragedy of war is well-enough known it doesn't need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic".

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Trump is expected to return to Washington from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. on Monday to sign the memo. Asked Friday if the US was going to war, he said cryptically, "I think you know the answer to that".

"The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with the U.S.in tackling this threat and many others".

"The prime minister says he discussed the threat with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence overnight". We obviously reiterate or welcome that commitment to peaceful diplomatic and political solution to the situation.

Mattis became the latest senior member of the Trump administration to issue dire warnings to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, declaring Wednesday that Pyongyang "should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people".

"China should make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten USA territories and triggers US retaliations, China will stay neutral".

Tensions have escalated rapidly in recent weeks after North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

South Korea's national security adviser Chung Eui-yong and his US counterpart H.R. McMaster spoke on the phone for 40 minutes early on Friday, a spokesman for the presidential Blue House in Seoul said.

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