Nuclear confrontation with North Korea would be "catastrophic": Mattis

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The U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday that the U.S. efforts to deal with the Korean peninsula issue was "diplomatically led", warning that war with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) would be "catastrophic".

After days of fiery rhetoric from both the U.S. and North Korea, Mr Mattis said war would be "catastrophic" and that diplomacy was gaining results.

"However, right now, Secretary Tillerson, Ambassador Haley, you can see the American effort is diplomatically led, it has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results".

"The tragedy of war is well enough known", Mattis said, responding to a question about the human toll of a nuclear confrontation between the DPRK and the U.S.

Mattis did not comment directly on the President's remarks.

Military action should not be an option when confronting the problem of escalating tensions with North Korea, US Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said in a statement. "Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"

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"While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth", Mattis said.

And while Mattis warned on 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.

When asked what options the USA has ready, Mattis declined to answer, saying instead, "I'm not going to tell the enemy what we're going to do".

"Mattis warned North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to take heed of the United Nations Security Council's unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree [North Korea] poses a threat to global security and stability".

In a diplomatic win for the USA, the measures were approved unanimously - including by Russian Federation and China, the North's sole major ally, according to AFP.

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