Tillerson, Mattis: Military option still in play for North Korea

Tillerson, Mattis: Military option still in play for North Korea”

Tillerson also reaffirmed at a joint news conference that the U.S. Article Five commitment to defend Japan covered the Senkaku Islands Japan contests with China.

The top U.S. diplomat laid out the worldwide "peaceful pressure" campaign he is leading against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK, but in response to a question from CNN's Elise Labott, he added that the diplomatic approach "has to be backed with military threat" if North Korea chooses to move forward with destabilizing actions.

Pyongyang must denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said when asked what conditions the North should meet for the allies to start a dialogue. Tillerson and Mattis, meanwhile, indicated that they were considering a range of options for working with China on North Korea, and that a trade battle not on the top of their agenda. North Koreas recent intercontinental ballistic missile and other missile launches are unacceptable provocations, and they must stop immediately. But both Cabinet members sought to rebut the claim.

Earlier in August, Trump warned that North Korea would face America's "fire and fury", if Pyongyang made more threats against the US.

Mattis stated the U.S. would take "immediate actions" to shoot down any missile launched by North Korea toward South Korea, Japan or Guam.

"In close collaboration with our allies, there are strong military consequences if DPRK initiates hostilities", Mattis said, referring to an abbreviation of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The US and Japanese officials said they will not postpone their planned joint military exercises, despite North Korea saying it views the drills near its border as a threat to its security. But fears of conflict remain as the USA and South Korea next week begin military drills that the North views as preparation for invasion, and as Washington seeks to stop the North's progress toward having a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the continental United States.

The top USA diplomat's message was underscored by Mattis, who also made clear the US' willingness to use force if North Korea steps out of line.

The US and Japan have agreed to advance their multilateral security and defence cooperation with countries like India, South Korea and Australia in view of North Koreas unsafe provocative behaviour, leaders of the countries have said.

"Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us", Bannon was quoted as saying.

Tillerson warned that the United States will honor treaty obligations to defend Japan "without reservation", and would be working to improve military alliances with other countries in the region, including South Korea, India and Australia.

Bannon also called for a tougher USA stance on trade with China, saying the two powers were in an "economic war".

In Bannon's interview with The American Prospect posted online Wednesday, he talked about purging his rivals from the Defense and State departments and named Thornton as one official he wanted out.

After greeting the Japanese ministers, Tillerson pointedly shook the hand of acting top USA diplomat for East Asia, Susan Thornton, as the meeting began. Tillerson pointedly shook Thornton's hand in front of cameras on Thursday morning.

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