Mattis says United States wants diplomatic solution for NK

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US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday that the Trump administration was working with its allies on a diplomatic solution to escalating tensions with North Korea.

North Korea announced that military leaders are planning to launch four intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missiles only 25 miles off the coast of Guam, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean.

The secretary issued a statement in response to news that Pyongyang had successfully developed nuclear warheads small enough to put on the head of a ballistic missile that could reach the U.S. This continues a series of toughly worded messages from the president urging North Korea's leader not to test the USA resolve.

Dujarric says Guterres welcomed the U.N. Security Council's adoption last Saturday of a resolution imposing new sanctions on North Korea, including banning any coal, iron lead and seafood exports, and is urging all U.N. member states to implement it.

Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said Thursday that the USA and South Korean militaries are prepared to "immediately and sternly punish" any kind of provocation by North Korea, but didn't elaborate on how the allies are preparing.

The announcement Thursday warned that the North is preparing a plan to fire four of its Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into waters around the tiny island, which hosts 7,000 USA military personnel on two main bases and has a population of 160,000.

Australia's prime minister says his country would come to the aid of the United States if North Korea attacks Guam.

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in is expected to deliver a speech next week to mark Liberation Day, when the Korean peninsula secured freedom from the rule of Japan.

"The tragedy of war is well-enough known it doesn't need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic", he added.

"The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with the U.S.in tackling this threat and many others".

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.

Tension in the region has risen since the reclusive North, which staged two nuclear bomb tests past year and launched two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July in defiance of world powers.

South Korea's national security adviser Chung Eui-yong and his USA counterpart H.R. McMaster spoke on the phone for 40 minutes early on Friday, a spokesman for the presidential Blue House in Seoul said.

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