U.S. has been conducting back-channel talks with North Korea for months

But the fact that the U.S. and North Korea are still talking while mutually threatening each other with missile fire shows that the public drama doesn't translate to private anger or calls to action.

"However, right now, Secretary Tillerson, Ambassador Haley, you can see the American effort is diplomatically led, it has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results", Mattis said. North Korea says it will "keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the U.S".

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Thursday that the United States military is prepared to respond to an attack from North Korea "should they be needed".

U.S. intelligence reports claiming that North Korea has miniaturized a nuclear bomb to fit on top of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States have prompted Trump to threaten massive retaliation if Pyongyang attacks.

Far from reassuring everyone the world isn't hurtling towards nuclear destruction, the interview with President Trump's Deputy Assistant instead instilled a foreboding sense of doom amongst listeners.

North Korea responded by claiming it is preparing a plan to fire missiles at the U.S. territory of Guam in the western Pacific.

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Mattis said the North Korean leader "should take heed of the United Nations Security Council's unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability". "But if the North were to act, the USA would have to deploy far more to the peninsula and the region as quickly as possible". We call on the relevant parties to be cautious with their words and actions, and contribute more toward easing tensions and enhancing mutual trust, ' Geng said in a statement.

The North Korea threat has been a foreign policy priority for the Trump administration since it took office in January, but it has taken center stage since Pyongyang test fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles last month.

"We want to use diplomacy".

And he points to another sign that the U.S.is not moving toward war with North Korea: There have been no efforts to evacuate the at least 150,000 USA citizens living in South Korea.

But it also said that if the USA and South Korea took a first strike against North Korea, China should intervene.

The U.N.in the past has had an envoy for North Korea, but Dujarric says "every situation is different and it's important not to make empty gestures".

  • Megan Austin