Mattis made the remarks to reporters at an event in California on Thursday, adding that the US prefers a diplomatic approach to the North Korean threat. And I want to stay right there right now.
Deviating from the tone of President Trump, who said the US would unleash "fire and fury" upon North Korea, Mattis stressed that the route forward would be diplomatic, and he repeated the importance of the unanimous 15-1 United Nations Security Council vote to impose economic sanctions on North Korea.
He spoke a day after President Trump warned that he would unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if North Korea continued to threaten America, rhetoric that suggested the two countries are edging closer to conflict.
Japan said Thursday it could shoot down missiles for its USA ally if North Korea fires them at Guam.
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North Korea Threatens to Launch Missiles Towards US Territory of Guam
There's a sense of patriotism among those who cite the island's history of Guam residents serving in the US military. It is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) southeast of North Korea , much closer than it is to any of the United States.
A separate statement by the Korean People's Army (KPA) also threatened to turn Seoul into "a sea of fire", comments condemned yesterday as "thoughtless" by South Korean military officials.
He told reporters that the diplomacy effort spearheaded by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley "has [gained] diplomatic traction" and "is gaining diplomatic results", according to the BBC.
It says North Korea will complete a plan by mid-August for the "historic enveloping fire at Guam", convey it to the commander in chief of its nuclear force and then "wait for his order".
A number of USA allies, including Australia and Japan, have said that they're prepared to stand with Trump and will take military action against North Korea if Jong Un launches an attack against Guam, according to Fox News.
"My portfolio, my mission, my responsibility is to have military options if you need it", Mattis responded.