Instead, Mr. Mattis reiterated that the administration's diplomatic efforts to quell tensions on the peninsula remained the top priority for the White House.
This after President Trump tweeted a photo showing U.S. Air Force B-1 bombers in Guam, but there are only six B-1's there right now ready to strike.
The State Department is expected to address the latest threats from North Korea at a news briefing Thursday. Striking a defiant tone on Thursday evening, he told reporters: "Maybe it wasn't tough enough".
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 has seen before". "And he'll see", he said.
"Mattis says the tragedy of war is well known and "it doesn't need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic. 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 are united in calling on the North Korean regime to halt its nuclear program.
"We want to use diplomacy".
But UN Secretary General António Guterres hinted that Trump's remarks risked derailing the diplomatic process.
"The Security Council passed a resolution unanimously over the weekend".
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric says Guterres "welcomes all initiatives that will help de-escalate the tensions and a return to 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 US citizens living in South Korea. The day before, however, Tillerson had told reporters that Americans shouldn't worry too much about Trump's threats to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea.
"He would lash out militarily, at a minimum against South Korea", Admiral Stavridis said to NBC.
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". "It is the job of Secretary Mattis, the secretary of defense, to talk about the military options, and he has done so unequivocally".
It also said that China and Russian Federation should enhance coordination to let other parties know they would not stand aside should their security be threatened by the escalating tensions.