N. Korea leader briefed on Guam missile plan: KCNA

N. Korea leader briefed on Guam missile plan: KCNA

Mattis's statement suggests that the U.S. would know with a high degree of accuracy if the missiles were on track to hit Guam, which differs from North Korea's stated plan to land them near Guam.

The missile plans were previously announced, and Kim said North Korea would conduct the launches if the "Yankees persist in their extremely risky reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity" and that the United States should "think reasonably and judge properly" to avoid shaming itself, the news agency said.

"If they fire at the United States, it could escalate into war very quickly", Mattis said.

Tensions have been mounting since the North tested two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month, which appeared to bring much of the USA within range.

Pyongyang's plans to fire missiles near Guam prompted a surge in tensions in the region last week, with U.S. President Donald saying the U.S. military was "locked and loaded" if North Korea acted unwisely.

U.S. defence secretary Jim Mattis and secretary of state Rex Tillerson said in a commentary in the Wall Street Journal the United States was adopting a policy of "strategic accountability" towards North Korea, and was applying diplomatic and economic pressure "to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a dismantling of the regime's ballistic-missile programmes".

His recent Pyongyang-style threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea has been met with silence from the top levels of South Korea's government - and worry, sometimes anger, from the country's citizens. "We are closely monitoring every move by the United States". One US defense official told CNN that US intelligence has assessed that a "probable ballistic missile" was being readied for shipment based on the activity observed.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the USA will "take out" any North Korean missile it detects is heading for American soil, including the Pacific island of Guam.

Tuesday marks the anniversary of Japan's expulsion from the Korean peninsula, a rare holiday celebrated by both the North and the South. Moon and Kim, who has not been seen publicly for several days, are both expected to make addresses on their respective sides of the heavily militarized border.

On Sunday, North Korea allowed visitors to pay their respects to the embalmed bodies of founder Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il at Pyongyang's Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, according to the report. "If South Korea really wants no war on the Korean Peninsula, it should try to stop this military exercise".

China meanwhile is to implement the UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea to which it agreed on August 5th.

Many South Koreans ignore Pyongyang because they have lived with near-constant North Korean belligerence, and sometimes violence, since the Korean Peninsula was divided in 1945 and the two countries fought a bloody, three-year war five years later. "Using one issue as a tool for exerting pressure on another is clearly inappropriate".

Heated rhetoric was notably absent on Monday following a meeting between Mr Moon, his defence minister and security advisers, and the chairman of the USA joint chiefs of staff, former marine corps general Joseph Dunford and senior U.S. military figures.

China's commerce ministry issued an order on Monday banning imports of coal, iron ore, lead concentrates and ore, lead and sea food from North Korea, effective from Tuesday.

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