Tillerson attempts to play good cop amid mixed messaging on North Korea

Tillerson says no 'imminent threat' from North Korea

Tillerson's call for talks with North Korea is "strongly" supported by the 62 lawmakers and should be followed by an effort to minimize the preconditions, they said. "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.

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. Hours earlier, North Korea's army had said in a statement it was exploring plans for attacking the tiny US territory, which houses USA military bases and is a common refueling stop for US government aircraft traversing the Pacific Ocean.

Early on, Trump announced that he had undertaken "a military operation" to get "really bad dudes out of this country, and at a rate that nobody's ever seen before".

On Wednesday, Defence Secretary James Mattis, a former general, noted in a carefully worded statement that the U.S. had an "unquestionable commitment" to "defend ourselves from an attack".

It makes sense that Trump's team is blaming its predecessor: Obama's efforts to stop North Korea's nuclear advancement obviously didn't work.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's unofficial job title could be translator-in-chief.

"North Korea has said they wish to annihilate the United States and use nuclear weapons". To the contrary, he said the latest threat from the North suggested the current strategy was working.

North Korea responded by claiming it is preparing a plan to fire missiles at the United States territory of Guam in the western Pacific.

He points out the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted last week to characterize North Korea's statements as a "threat to the world's community".

U.S military officials played down the potential for military conflict. And it's not the first time that officials within the Trump administration have sent conflicting signals on Pyongyang.

"We are all singing from the same hymn book", she said.

On Thursday, Trump mused that perhaps the "fire and fury" statement wasn't "tough enough".

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert responded to Gorka's comments during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, telling reporters that Tillerson's statements should, in fact, be heeded. "The tone and strength of the message were discussed beforehand", Sanders said.

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the committee, said Trump's words were counterproductive.

"I was admonishing the journalists of the fake news industrial complex who are forcing our chief diplomat into a position where they are demanding he makes the military case for action when that is not the mandate of the secretary of state", Gorka said.

English says all countries want to avoid military confrontation and the way for that to happen is for North Korea to comply with U.N. sanctions and for worldwide pressure to push the nation in that direction.

China, despite its anger at Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programs, described the situation as "complex and sensitive", and urged calm and a return to talks.