US Preparing Military 'Options' Against North Korea: Dunford

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned on Monday that the US military would be prepared to intercept a missile fired by North Korea if it was headed to Guam, while North Korean leader Kim Jong Un alerted his army that it should always be fire-ready.

"We continue to be interested in finding a way to get to dialogue but that's up to him", Tillerson told reporters. But diplomats say about $2 billion more in exports could be blacklisted to cut off funding for Pyongyang's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. "We are nearly ecstatic that Kim Jong Un has backed off", he added. "When the time is right", said State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert on Tuesday.

Kim also warned that the USA should not test North Korea's self-restraint.

Analysts said Pyongyang's ICBM tests on July 4 and July 28 demonstrated its capability of hitting Alaska and the mainland United States.

Last week President Donald Trump declared the US military "locked and loaded" and said he was ready to unleash "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to threaten the United States.

But afterwards, according to KCNA, he made a decision to postpone the operation to "watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees" and not to go ahead unless the USA commits more "reckless actions".

Last week, the North said a plan was being drawn up to fire four missiles into the sea off Guam, where USA bombers are based.

"Military action on the Korean peninsula can only be decided by South Korea and no one else can decide to take military action without the consent of South Korea", Moon said in a speech to commemorate the anniversary of the nation's liberation from Japanese military rule in 1945. They said China needs to be on board for effective economic leverage. China controls 90 to 95 percent of the Korean economy.

"Both the United States and South Korea do not believe North Korea has yet completely gained re-entry technology in material engineering terms", Suh said in remarks televised on Sunday for a Korea Broadcasting System show. They control the ocean and the sea around it, if they desire to.

The United States and South Korea remain technically at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. Instead, Kim was able to simply make a choice not to give the order.

But while North Korea may lack a massive stockpile of nuclear weapons and bombs when compared to the U.S., Russian Federation or China, the pariah state still has enough weapons potentially capable of inflicting devastating damage to a major U.S. city or anywhere else around the world.

Guam hosts a number of United States strategic military bases.

When asked if he would order the shoot-down of missiles headed toward Guam - but which would fall short of actually hitting the island - Mattis said he did not want to signal whether the United States would still try to stop them. The U.S. decision not to fly B-1Bs may have been happenstance, in this case; flights tend to occur with an interval greater than seven days.

  • Joey Payne