Nuclear confrontation with North Korea would be "catastrophic": Mattis

A pair of B-1B Lancer bombers

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.

"No Easy Military Options in North Korea" is part of Aviation Week & Space Technology's subscription package. Of course, I do. "And we work very closely with allies to ensure that this is not unilateral either. and of course there's a military solution", he told reporters on a flight to Seattle, per a Pentagon readout.

The Trump administration has used a mix of tough talk and diplomacy to deal with the mounting threat.

"The American effort is diplomatically led, it has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results and I want to stay right there right now", he added. "That's where we've been, that's where we are right now and that's where we hope to remain", he said.

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The United Nations Security Council on Saturday passed Resolution 2371 with a 15-0 vote, imposing new sanctions on North Korea for defying U.N. resolutions and continuing to test intercontinental ballistic missiles.

North Korea "should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people", Mattis said in an August 9 statement.

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.

Military action should not be an option when confronting the problem of escalating tensions with North Korea, US Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said in a statement.

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