North Korea risks 'destruction of its people', says defence secretary Mattis

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His comments punctuate President Donald Trump's warning that North Korea will be met with "fire and fury" if it threatens the U.S.

One U.S. official, however, said there was no sign that Bannon intervened in an effort to promote more threatening rhetoric against North Korea.

"North Korea (DPRK) best not make any more threats to the United States".

Kelly, Trump´s new chief of staff and former secretary of homeland security, said in April that North Korea would pose a serious risk to the United States if it possessed a missile that could reach American shores with a nuclear device.

Guam lies about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometres) from the Korean Peninsula, and it's extremely unlikely Kim's government would risk annihilation with a pre-emptive attack on USA citizens.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that North Korea has also successfully miniaturized a nuclear warhead to fit atop the Hwasong 14.

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Speaking earlier Wednesday on his way home from Asia, he insisted the US isn't signalling a move toward military action.

"The situation is bad now, and it's going to get worse in August; it's going to get much more risky in August", Joel Wit, a senior fellow at US-Korea Institute and former State Department official, said in a Aug. 2 conference call with reporters organized by 38 North, a website for analysis of Korean defense issues.

Earlier US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Guam on a scheduled visit and told reporters he did not believe there was an imminent threat and "Americans should sleep well at night".

But the USA military has flexed its muscles by conducting joint military drills with Japan and South Korea and conducting show-of-force operations.

Asked whether he had considered rerouting his trip to Guam, given its status as a potential target, the secretary said that the "North Korean missile capability can point in many directions" and that he did not consider changing course.

While denouncing the annual Ulichi Freedom-Guardian exercises, North Korea has also dangled the possibility of suspending its nuclear programs if the joint training by more than 25,000 USA and South Korean troops were canceled. As seldom as it is for a president to speak of using nuclear missiles, the reference to the "destruction" of a foreign people is equally rare.

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