US Defense Secretary issues stark warning to North Korea

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has responded to North Korea's threat of targeting the US Pacific territory of Guam with missiles, saying Pyongyang's move would lead to "the end of its regime and the destruction of its people".

Britain's UN ambassador said the United Kingdom "stands shoulder to shoulder with the United States" in tackling the nuclear threat from North Korea and making sure it can not pursue its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

After a heated exchange between President Donald Trump and North Korea that culminated in Pyongyang threatening to envelope the USA territory of Guam in missile fire, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis laid bare the US's resolve against intimidation.

"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States".


"They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen", Trump said.

Media reports said the North has successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

Mattis said that though the State Department is making efforts to resolve the threat using diplomatic means, allied militaries possess "robust defensive and offensive capabilities".

Mattis's remarks follow bellicose comments from President Trump warning North Korea of "fire and fury" if it takes aggressive steps toward the United States.


"The DPRK regime's actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and it would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates", he added.

The news comes after dictator Kim Jong Un threatened to attack USA forces in Guam after revelations that his regime now has mini-nukes. DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. On Saturday, for example, members of the U.N. Security Council approved new economic sanctions on the regime.

Robert Kelly, professor of political science at Pusan National University, told Al Jazeera that both North Korea and Trump were nearly certainly exaggerating in their respective rhetoric, as a conflict would be disastrous - and that Trump was likely stepping up the rhetoric to pressure China into taking action to curb North Korea's behaviour. It was the longest, and farthest ballistic missile test in the history of North Korea, officials told Fox News at the time.

Mattis's tone was at odds with that of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who earlier said he did not believe "there is any imminent threat" to Guam or other U.S. targets and hoped that diplomatic pressure would prevail in the crisis. Japan hosts around 54,000 U.S. military personnel, the U.S. Department of Defense says, and tens of thousands of Americans work in both countries.



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