US Defence Secretary James Mattis has said America still hopes to solve the North Korea crisis using diplomacy, BBC reports.
After days of fiery rhetoric from both the US and North Korea, Mr Mattis said war would be “catastrophic” and that diplomacy was gaining results.
Pyongyang on Thursday announced it was finalizing a plan to fire four missiles near the US territory of Guam. Tensions have escalated rapidly in recent weeks after North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July. It was further angered by a subsequent UN decision to increase economic sanctions against it.
Mr Mattis, speaking in California late on Thursday, said it was his job as defence secretary to be ready for conflict. But he said the diplomatic effort, under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, “has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results”. He did not provide any further details on what diplomatic efforts were under way. However, the UN Security Council agreed fresh sanctions against North Korea on Saturday.
Mr Mattis said: “The tragedy of war is well enough known. It doesn’t need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic.”