Mattis, Tillerson say North Korea could face "military consequence"

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The agreement came during a meeting to discuss North Korea between Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Kono and their American counterparts, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in Washington, DC, on Thursday.

While saying he did not want to comment specifically on Bannon's interview, Tillerson said the threat from Pyongyang had "to be backed by a strong military outcome if North Korea chooses wrongly". "Very simply, in the event of a missile launch towards the territory of Japan, Guam, the United States, [South] Korea, we would take immediate specific actions to take it down". The U.S.is treaty-bound to defend Japan from outside attacks.

Animosity between the two countries spiked this month after North Korea warned it might fire missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam in response to warlike rhetoric from Donald Trump.

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The Defense Ministry wants to introduce a land-based missile defense system called Aegis Ashore to address North Korea's missile threats and has chose to seek funding in the next fiscal year to cover the system design costs, a ministry official said.

Dunford said on Thursday the United States and South Korea would go ahead with joint military drills next week despite pressure from North Korea and its main ally, China, to halt the contentious exercises that Pyongyang routinely describes as preparation for war. "We're prepared militarily, we're prepared with our allies to respond if that is necessary". North Korea said it would watch the conduct of the United States a little more, and some observers say Pyongyang will defer on its plan to fire the missiles.

Japan and the US also agreed to work together on a host of other issues, including space communications, cyber security, and improved information sharing with other countries affected by the North's developing weapons programs.

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Mr Tillerson said military action is "not our preferred pathway", and pressure will have to be raised such that the North is so isolated it realises its future "is bleak and will only become bleaker". But he dismissed claims that any talks between Pyongyang, the USA and its allies could take place before the North agrees to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Grossman said, "So the Atlantic World media is asking, 'Where is North Korea leader Kim Jong-un?'"

Responding to the ICBM provocation with a show of force, the US and South Korean troops on Wednesday conducted "deep strike" precision missile drills using Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and the Republic of Korea's Hyunmoo Missile II. "And we agreed that we would properly examine ways to strengthen the alliance", he said. The Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan.

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According to some reports, the range of a North Korean nuclear missile may extend as far as New York City, but little is publicly known about the capabilities of North Korea's ICBM technologies. Testing an ICBM marks a major military achievement for Pyongyang and a serious escalation of tensions with the United States and its allies in the region, particularly South Korea and Japan.

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