Mattis: War with North Korea would be 'catastrophic'

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"My mission, my responsibility is to have military options if you need it", Mattis said.

Deviating from the tone of President Trump, who said the USA would unleash "fire and fury" upon North Korea, Mattis stressed that the route forward would be diplomatic, and he repeated the importance of the unanimous 15-1 United Nations Security Council vote to impose economic sanctions on North Korea.

The tensions between USA and North Korea escalated after Pyongyang tested an intercontinental ballistic missile in July that appears to have the range to hit major United States cities.

President Trump's "locked and loaded" remark on Friday - part of his ongoing exchange with the North Korean regime - might have set the world more on edge. His comments punctuate President Donald Trump's warning that North Korea will be met with "fire and fury" if it threatens the US.

"That would be the clearest indication that we were headed toward war", Pollack says. "I'm quite proud of what we've accomplished". We obviously reiterate or welcome that commitment to peaceful diplomatic and political solution to the situation. "That shows where the Trump administration goes in terms of the prioritizing of the threat but also how to deal with it in a diplomatically effective manner".

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Asked whether Mr Trump's escalating rhetoric was hurting prospects for reviving negotiations, Mr Rycroft said: "What's hurting the six-party talks is the inability so far of the North Korean regime to do what it has to do which is to halt its nuclear programme and to halt its intercontinental ballistic missile programme".

"China should make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US territories and triggers USA retaliations, China will stay neutral".

There are about 29,000 American troops permanently stationed in South Korea.

The Global Times is a state-sanctioned tabloid known for its nationalistic and often anti-West editorials, and its views do not always represent official Chinese government policies.

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