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State Department Press Briefing on North Korea
13 August 2017, 05:03 | Devin Moran
LIVE STREAM: State Department Press Briefing on North Korea
Meanwhile North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency said its army would complete plans in mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near Guam.
He does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody's seen before, what will happen in North Korea, ' Trump told reporters in New Jersey, without offering specifics.
The tweet came amid a sharp escalation in tensions between the US and the rogue state, with Pyongyang having earlier threatened to launch missiles at the Pacific island of Guam, where there is a USA military base.
Mattis says any action by North Korea would be grossly overmatched by the US, and that Pyongyang would lose any arms race or conflict it started.
Mattis did not comment directly on the President's remarks.
"Guam's leaders say the threat level hasn't gone up following North Korea's latest threat".
The Associated Press reported Friday that the Trump administration had been involved for months in back channel diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, vital if Trump's rhetoric is not to lead to a military clash.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has urged calm, saying he sees no "imminent threat" of attack.
That impetus has only grown among administration officials amid reports this week that Pyongyang had built a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop one of the country's long-range missiles.
Mattis praised the efforts of United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley that resulted in a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning North Korea's actions.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called on both sides to avoid "going down the old path of alternately showing strength and continuously escalating the situation".
B-1 bomber planes have carried out a series of 11 practice runs on the Korean peninsula near the DPRK's border, in coordination with South Korean and Japanese forces since the end of May.
The Northern Viper drills are one of the scheduled exercises that Japan's Self Defence Forces conducts regularly with their USA counterparts and are not a response to the latest tensions.
The official, who spoke to Newsweek on the condition of anonymity, said war game scenarios conducted by the US and South Korea indicated that substantial time would be required to move military assets for an attack on the state. Moon is likely to highlight his policy on North Korea on the holiday, the only one the two Koreas share.
"What we're trying to do here is [be] loud and clear in the diplomatic arena: It is North Korea's choice", Mattis said.
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It's unclear how accurate the North can be when launching intermediate-range missiles, putting Guam's 160,000 residents in danger. The U.S. military also has a THAAD missile defense system on the island, which could hit the missiles on their way back to earth.