Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Mattis warns North Korea to stand down or face 'end of regime'

The statement, made via Twitter, comes one day after Trump wondered whether he had been stern enough in talking about North Korea earlier this week, when he promised to meet Pyongyang's threats with "fire and fury".

"There are no mixed messages" on North Korea, the president told reporters from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Tension in the region has risen since the reclusive North, which staged two nuclear bomb tests a year ago and launched two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July in defiance of world powers.

Mr Mattis said any action by North Korea would be grossly overmatched by the USA, and that Pyongyang would lose any arms race or conflict it started.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday became the second cabinet official to tone down President Trump's call of "fire and fury" against North Korea, saying the current US approach to that nation's threats is a "diplomatic" one.

But asked whether the United States was ready if North Korea did commit a hostile act, he responded: 'We are ready'.

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.

'His view and the view of the administration is that the way to resolve the situation with North Korea ... is through these economic sanctions.

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.

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.

It would take around 14 minutes for a North Korean missile to arrive in the area, officials in Guam said on Friday, as they discussed their plan to use sirens to alert the public in the event of a launch toward the island.

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

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