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Mattis to North Korea: Stand down or we will destroy you

Mattis to North Korea: Stand down or we will destroy you

North Korea will continue to be grossly overmatched by the USA and its allies, he said, "and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates".

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. "The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people", Mattis said.

The warning followed Trump's tweets earlier in the day that the US nuclear arsenal is "now far stronger and more powerful than ever before". "And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before".

The threat from North Korea's nuclear and missile programs has been a top foreign policy priority for Trump since taking office in January, but the dangers posed by North Korea have taken center stage since the country test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles last month.

The plan would be put into practice at any moment, once Kim Jong Un made a decision, a Korean People's Army spokesman said in a statement carried by state-run KCNA news agency.

His comments punctuate President Donald Trump's warning that North Korea will be met with "fire and fury" if it threatens the US.

It has not conducted a nuclear test since September 2016. "It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before", Trump tweeted.

Guam hosts strategic United States military installations - including both a naval and an air force base - and is more than 3,400km from North Korea.

Tillerson added that there were no new threats to Guam.

Tension in the region has risen since North Korea carried out two nuclear bomb tests past year and two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. Democratic leaders criticised Trump for his statement on North Korea.

Mattis has previously testified before the House Appropriations Committee that a fight with North Korea would be "more serious in terms of human suffering" than anything since the original Korean War ended in 1953.

The South Korean capital, Seoul, is within range of massed North Korean rockets and artillery, which would be impossible to destroy in a first USA strike. 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. Tens of thousands of US troops remain stationed in South Korea and in nearby Japan.


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