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13 August 2017, 05:03 | Terri Saunders
Mattis on Trump's 'fire and fury' remark: 'The rhetoric is up to the President. This is my rhetoric'
The Pentagon has prepared a plan involving a B-1B heavy bomber attack against the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea which is ready should President Trump, as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, decide to order an attack, NBC News reported.
Tensions have escalated rapidly in recent weeks after North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.
Mattis said the tragedy of war is well-known and "it doesn't need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic".
Mattis issued a statement as he traveled to the West Coast.
But asked whether the United States was ready if North Korea did commit a hostile act, he responded: 'We are ready'.
'But of course if North Korea decides to carry out some of its violent threats, then obviously bad consequences will follow, and there's no point ducking that inevitable effect, ' he said, promising Australian military support for the United States if it was attacked.
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Speaking to reporters in Mountain View, California, Mattis said that US efforts on North Korea were now focused on diplomacy, while stressing that his "mission" was to make sure Washington "is to have military options should they be needed".
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has urged calm, saying he sees no "imminent threat" of attack.
His visit came the day after President Trump said North Korea would be met with "fire and fury" in the event of a nuclear attack.
And while Mattis warnedon Wednesday that North Korea would be "grossly overmatched" by the USA and its allies if a military conflict were to break out, some senior administration officials have provided a counterpoint to the President's more inflammatory rhetoric. The aircraft flew over Japanese airspace before passing over the Korean Peninsula.
Former State Department official Joel S. Wit, the founder of 38 North, a website that analyzes North Korea, told Politico that Trump's claims risked undermining diplomatic efforts.
"We want to use diplomacy [and] that's where we've been, that's where we are right now and that's where we hope to remain, Mattis said during a press briefing on Thursday".
Mattis did not comment directly on the President's remarks. "So the American people should sleep well at night".
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