Jim Mattis refutes claims over differences with Donald Trump on North Korea

REUTERS

"Korea" target="_blank">joined four South Korean F-15 fighters in simulated precision strikes (shown above) in eastern South Korea.

Following a U.N. Security Council presidential statement condemning North Korea's missile launch, the Japanese government plans to seek the adoption of a stricter U.N. sanctions resolution. More missile tests, more bomber flyovers and three angry armies facing each other across the world's most heavily armed border raises the possibility that a miscalculation could lead to real fighting.

Nuclear-armed North Korea has warned Tokyo against "imminent self-destruction" for siding with Washington, as tensions soar after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan.

The U.S. Pacific Command said the exercises were conducted in response to North Korea's recent missile launch.

Over the course of the 10-hour mission, the F-35Bs, B-1B bombers and Koku Jieitai fighters flew together over waters near Kyushu, Japan. "We will defend ourselves and our allies", he said.

There must be no possible seam in the structure of deterrence, and both North Korea and its biggest trading partner China must fully understand just how strong the USA retaliatory commitment is.

North Korea fired a Hwasong-12 missile on August 29 capable of carrying a nuclear payload that traveled almost 2,700 kilometers into the Pacific and triggered alert warnings as it flew over Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the launch was a "curtain-raiser of its resolute countermeasures" against the U.S. -South Korea war games as rehearsals for an invasion and described Tuesday's missile launch over Japan as a response to the drills. The ballistic missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii.

Now is the time for the worldwide community to ramp up pressure on North Korea, Japan's top diplomat said during the 40-minute phone conversation.

The US is against North Korea's nuclear weapons but Pyongyang says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward the country and dissolves the US-led United Nations command in South Korea.

The US also needs to work with Japan and South Korea to give them the most advanced missile defenses possible - both ballistic and cruise missiles - and to create all of the elements to make US missile defenses as effective as possible.

Pyongyang fired an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 over Japan on Tuesday.

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