Mattis warns North Korea to stand down or face 'end of regime'

Mattis' words, some of the strongest he has issued on North Korea, followed incendiary comments from President Donald Trump who said on Tuesday that threats to the United States from Pyongyang would be met with "fire and fury".

North Korea will continue to be grossly overmatched by the USA and its allies, he said "and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates".

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

"So I think the president, what the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un would understand, because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language". Obama's Defense Secretary announced at the end of the administration that the Pentagon would be spending $108 billion over the next 5 years to work on it.

The threat was prompted by a statement from President Trump, in which he said that any threat to the USA would be met with "fire and fury".

Also on Tuesday, the Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's propaganda outlet, said the North is "examining the operational plan" to strike the USA territory of Guam with medium- and long-range ballistic missiles.

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Mattis said the U.S. and its allies would win any arms race or conflict. He said his previous "fire and fury" warning to Pyongyang might have been too mild. That warning came soon after The Washington Post, citing U.S. intelligence officials, reported the North has successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit atop its missiles.

The statement concluded with a final warning: "The DPRK regime's actions will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates".

Later Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted about the United States' nuclear capabilities amid tensions with the nuclear-capable North Korean regime.

"My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal".

The US has large military bases in the Guam, strategic bombers and about 163,000 people. He said the US nuclear arsenal is the most powerful it's ever been under his leadership. "Nobody in the world, especially not North Korea, comes close to challenging our military capabilities".

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