North Korea: US diplomacy is gaining results, says Mattis

A pair of B-1B Lancer bombers

Mattis issued a statement as he traveled to the West Coast.

Matthew Rycroft told reporters at United Nations headquarters in NY that the USA and UK have been very clear in demanding a halt to North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

According to two U.S. military sources which spoke to NBC, U.S. intelligence has identified at least two dozen targets in the DPRK, which they say consist of missile launch sites, testing grounds, storage facilities and support equipment.

Earlier this week, Gen. Kim Rak-Gyom, who heads North Korea's rocket command, said in a statement carried by state media that Pyongyang was "about to take" military action near the USA territory of Guam.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday became the second cabinet official to tone down President Trump's call of "fire and fury" against North Korea, saying the current US approach to that nation's threats is a "diplomatic" one.

Speaking to journalists at his New Jersey golf club, the President said that he didn't think his comments had been "tough enough".

On Tuesday, Trump warned North Korea not to make any more threats against the United States.

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

"My responsibility is to have military options if needed", Mattis told a group of reporters in Mountain View, California, where he was visiting a new Department of Defense arm created to speed the integration of new technologies into the USA military.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called on both sides to avoid "going down the old path of alternately showing strength and continuously escalating the situation".

South Korean and US troops are also gearing up for an annual joint drill from August 21, called the Ulchi Freedom Guardian, in which up to 30,000 USA troops will take part.

"We want to use diplomacy [and] that's where we've been, that's where we are right now and that's where we hope to remain, Mattis said during a press briefing on Thursday. But at the same time, our defenses are robust" and ready to take on any threat posed by the North Korean regime, Mr. Mattis said.

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