State Department expected to address latest North Korea threats in news briefing

Secretary Mattis says U.S. is 'ready&apos to counter North Korean threat

Defense Secretary General James Mattis said Thursday the U.S. military is"ready to counter the nuclear missile threat posed by North KoreaMore

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has insisted that diplomatic efforts to contain the threat posed by North Korea are working, and remain the favored means for solving the crisis.

And while Mattis warned on Wednesday that North Korea would be "grossly overmatched" by the USA and its allies if a military conflict were to break out, some senior administration officials have provided a counterpoint to the President's more inflammatory rhetoric.

Pyongyang has been louder in its complaints against a new and tough round of sanctions imposed by the United Nations, with strong U.S. backing, and Washington's use of Guam as a staging ground for its stealth bombers, which could be used to attack North Korea and are a particularly sore point with the ruling regime in Pyongyang.

Hours after President Donald Trump intensified his threat to rain "fire and fury" upon North Korea, Mattis said war would be "catastrophic".

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

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

The issue came to the fore again this week when US intelligence analysts assessed that North Korea had produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead, according to multiple sources, which would bring the country a significant step closer to being able to fire a nuclear-tipped warhead at the USA or its allies.

He made it clear that while the State Department is pursuing "diplomatic means" with Pyongyang, "North Korea will be grossly overmatched by the US and its allies" and would lose any arms race it starts.

Trump said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was not going to get away with his "horrific" comments and disrespecting America. But he says that, until that happens, the U.S.

South Korea's military says North Korea will face a "stern and strong" response from Washington and Seoul if it acts on threats to fire missiles near Guam.

'His view and the view of the administration is that the way to resolve the situation with North Korea.is through these economic sanctions.

Mattis also noted that the U.S.is also ready for a military conflict if it comes to that.

Tension in the region has risen since the reclusive North, which staged two nuclear bomb tests previous year and launched two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July in defiance of world powers.

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