U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said that his responsibility is to have military options should they be needed.
"The American effort is diplomatically led, it has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results and I want to stay right there right now", he told reporters in Mountain View, California, according to Fox News.
Mattis said the tragedy of war is well-known and "it doesn't need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic".
Trump did do something: The president issued a memorandum in January ordering a review of America's nuclear arsenal to ensure it is "modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies".
The Secretary of Defense's comments come as President Donald Trump has doubled down on comments made on Tuesday, in which he said that North Korea would face "fire and fury" if Kim Jong Un continued making threats against the United States.
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The issue came to the fore again this week when US intelligence analysts assessed that North Korea had produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead, according to multiple sources, which would bring the country a significant step closer to being able to fire a nuclear-tipped warhead at the USA or its allies.
Tensions have escalated rapidly in recent weeks after North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.
But asked whether the United States was ready if North Korea did commit a hostile act, he responded: 'We are ready'.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Trump's stark warning for North Korea came in a tweet this morning.
The White House has distanced itself from the president's threats, and Mattis maintains that diplomatic efforts are the best way to combat this crisis. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also sought to promote dialogue and diplomacy over military action. "The whole of the Security Council has come together behind that, and I think that we should see the President's public comments as one of the strands, one of the many strands of USA activity".
"I agree we should explore all diplomatic options before taking military action", Maloney said.
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". Mattis said that this show of support is heartening.
In a diplomatic win for the U.S., the measures were approved unanimously - including by Russian Federation and China, the North's sole major ally, according to AFP.