Mattis warns North Korea of 'destruction of its people'

US Defence Secretary James Mattis has said North Korea should cease any consideration of actions that would "lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people".

DPRK is the acronym of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people", he added.

His comments come after the North Korean military threatened a missile strike near the USA territory of Guam, in response to comments made by President Donald Trump and a Pentagon bomber operation in the region.

On Tuesday, Trump warned North Korea not to make any more threats against the United States.

"They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen", Trump said from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

Media reports said the North has successfully miniaturised a nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

"While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth", Mattis said in the statement.

Only hours before Trump's tweets, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged calm and said Americans should have "no concerns" despite the exchange of threats between the president and North Korea.

He also asserted that any action by North Korea would be grossly overmatched by the USA, and that Pyongyang would lose any arms race or conflict it started.

In September 2016, the regime tested a bomb with a blast estimated at twice the size of the one detonated over Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II.

On July 28, North Korea launched its second ICBM, which had the longest flight of a ballistic missile in the country's history, the Pentagon confirmed. He said the USA nuclear arsenal is the most powerful it's ever been under his leadership. "Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!" Tension in the region has risen since North Korea carried out two nuclear bomb tests past year and two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.

The country also, according to another intelligence assessment, is estimated to have at least 60 nuclear weapons.

Mattis's tone was at odds with that of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who earlier said he did not believe "there is any imminent threat" to Guam or other USA targets and hoped that diplomatic pressure would prevail in the crisis.

Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, said Trump's threat to North Korea "is reckless and shows a serious lack of judgment".

Tens of thousands of United States troops remain stationed in South Korea and in nearby Japan, the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons.

  • Joey Payne