Top South Korean official: Trump comments 'very worrisome,' causing 'confusion'

Both Russia and China have previously denounced North Korea's missile launches, but have also called on the USA to halt military drills in the region.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un has received a report from his army on its plans to strike the area around Guam and said he will watch the actions of the United States for a while longer before making a decision, the North's official news agency said on Tuesday.

"If there really is an armed force scenario and if everything indeed happens the way the Washington establishment is trying to scare us all with, the situation will be simply catastrophic", she said, adding that the U.S. isn't considering the full extent of the repercussions that could result if the conflict was escalated.

The disagreement between the Washington, D.C., and Seoul, however small, is exactly what North Korea wants, according to experts who say the outlaw regime in Pyongyang seeks to destroy the South Korean-American alliance and unify the two Koreas under its communist rule.

"The military dimension today is directly in support of that diplomatic and economic effort", Dunford told reporters after meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul. It may be that the diplomatic proposals will seem more compelling for the U.S. at this point.

Japan is also conducting joint military exercises with the USA in the next few weeks. "The [South Korean] government and the USA government don't have a different position on this".

Mouthy US President Donald Trump had boasted on Friday that his military was "locked and loaded".

"It would be reckless and irresponsible, considering North Korea's behavior", he said, pointing to the increased missile and nuclear testing.

In response, Bill Richardson, a former USA ambassador to the United Nations, told CNBC's Squawk on the Street, "You never know how the North Koreans are going react... especially Kim Jong-un, who's afraid of his own shadow, who is concerned about... being toppled, regime change".

Mattis said that if a North Korean missile were headed toward the waters near Guam, instead of aimed directly at the island, then the president would decide what action to take.

Remarks from the leading Trump Administration officials came after a week of significantly heightened rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington over North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

"While diplomacy is our preferred means of changing North Korea's course of action, it is backed by military options", the two officials said.

"The reaction in North Korea that we are intending to get is an is an understanding that America is no longer going to have the strategic patience that it's had that has permitted him to continue to develop his weapons program", Pompeo said. He has made clear to allies and rivals alike that the United States is willing, to use the phrase of Cold War nuclear strategists, to "think the unthinkable"-that is, plan for and launch a nuclear war".

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