Defence Secretary Jim Mattis today warned North Korea to "stand down" from pursuing nuclear weapons and cease considering actions that would lead to the "end of its regime", after Pyongyang threatened missile strikes against United States strategic military installations in Guam.
North Korea, which is pursuing missile and nuclear weapons programs in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, accuses the United States of devising a "preventive war" and has said that any plans to execute this would be met with an "all-out war, wiping out all the strongholds of enemies, including the U.S. mainland". He added that North Korea "should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people".
His comments come after the North Korean military threatened a missile strike near the US territory of Guam, in response to comments made by President Donald Trump and a Pentagon bomber operation in the region.
On Tuesday, during a briefing about the opioid crisis, Trump warned North Korea to not make any further threats against the United States. "As said, they will be met with fire, fury, and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before", he said.
Mattis provided a powerful follow-up to Trump's warning that Pyongyang would face "fire and fury" should it continue to test missiles, build nuclear warheads and threaten to attack the United States.
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".
Earlier on Wednesday, North Korea said it was "carefully examining" a plan to strike Guam, which is home to about 163,000 people and a United States military base that includes a submarine squadron, an airbase and a Coast Guard group.
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.
Congressman Dan Kildee of MI was in South Korea wehn the North Korean regime tested another missile.
DPRK stands for Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.
North Korea responded by warning to attack Guam. The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday.
On Wednesday Trump tweeted the USA nuclear arsenal was "stronger and more powerful than ever before" but he hoped it never needed to be used.
Trump's remarks came amid reports that North Korea was nearing to obtain an atomic weapon that can strike the US.
The US, which protects its air and naval bases on Guam with advanced missile defenses, appeared prepared to meet the challenge of North Korea's unreliable missiles. 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.