Korea War Would Be 'Catastrophic,' Diplomacy Bearing Fruit: US's Mattis

WATCH LIVE: State Department expected to address North Korean threats in news briefing

WATCH LIVE: State Department expected to address North Korean threats in news briefing

Trump's "fire and fury" remarks prompted warnings from US officials and analysts not to engage in rhetorical games with Pyongyang.

The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "troubled" by the escalating rhetoric from all sides in the North Korea nuclear dispute.

But asked whether the United States was ready if North Korea did commit a hostile act, he responded: 'We are ready'.

Pentagon chief James Mattis on Wednesday warned North Korea to stop pursuing nuclear weapons and stop considering actions that would lead to the "destruction of its people".

A senior administration official who deals with the Korea issue said the "fire and fury" comment, which was Trump's strongest warning yet for North Korea, was "unplanned and spontaneous".

"While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth", Mattis said.

Ray also says Pyongyang "must comply without delay fully and unconditionally with its obligations" under U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Martin Schaefer told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday that Germany "calls on all parties to show restraint".

He pointed out that the UN Security Council unanimously voted last week to characterize North Korea's statements as a "threat to the world's community".

Trump's unexpected remarks prompted North Korea to say it was considering plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles to land 18 to 25 miles from Guam, home to about 163,000 people and a USA military base that includes a submarine squadron, an air base and a Coast Guard group. "Secretary Tillerson is the chief diplomat of the United States, and it is not his portfolio to handle those issues".

Tillerson is speaking after President Donald Trump and North Korea exchanged threats that have raised concerns about a potential military confrontation. North Korea says it will "keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the U.S".

He says "the pressure is starting to show".

"I know they were having talks as well with the representative from North Korea", he said, citing it as evidence of their "very good open channels of communication" with the regime. Tillerson isn't in charge of defense strategy, he said. "I think that's why the rhetoric coming out of Pyongyang is beginning to become louder and more threatening". Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo has publicly suggested that removing leader Kim Jong Un is the answer to the North Korea dilemma.

Tillerson says Trump wanted to make clear to North Korea that the US has the "unquestionable ability to defend itself" and will protect itself and its allies.

"Put yourself in President Trump's shoes", he said. But Gorka's comments provide yet more conflicting information from the White House about precisely where that red line lies.

And despite the rhetorical fire and fury unleashed by the president Tuesday, more level-headed officials like Tillerson are indicating that the USA policy on North Korea hasn't changed.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner said the administration needed to lean on China, North Korea's closest ally, using sanctions.

English told reporters Wednesday at the nation's Parliament in Wellington that New Zealand has not raised concerns with the USA administration about Trump's remarks, but would if his tone continued.

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