Mattis: US will stop North's missile attacks

S.Korea's Moon says N.Korean nuclear-tipped ICBM is a

S.Korea's Moon says N.Korean nuclear-tipped ICBM is a "red line"

The north Korean leader Kim Jong-un has put on hold his project of shooting missiles on the u.s. territory of Guam, a decision deemed "wise" by the american president.

The phone call came ahead of high-level meetings on Thursday between Mattis, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and their Japanese counterparts.

"This is a very important time for security in the region and of course we are mostly focused on the threat coming out of North Korea", Dunford said.

Japan's Kono said talks with Pyongyang would not be possible until it stopped its nuclear provocation.

"Our effort is to cause them to want to engage in talks but engage in talks with an understanding that these talks will lead to a different conclusion than talks of the past", Tillerson said.

Tensions have risen after North Korea conducted two missile tests in July and has since threatened to launch a missile strike at Guam.

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Defense Secretary James Mattis warned Pyongyang that both the United States and Japan would respond with overwhelming force if it attacks first.

North Korean media reported on Tuesday that Kim had delayed the decision on firing four missiles towards Guam, a US territory home to a vital air base and Navy facility, while he waited to see what the United States did next.

Guterres spoke by telephone with Deputy Ambassador Kim In Ryong on Tuesday, the North Korean mission to the United Nations said in a statement on Thursday. He talked about purging rivals from the Defense and State departments to advance a more hawkish policy.

Dunford and his Japanese counterpart Katsutoshi Kawano agreed to work together to strengthen missile defense systems.

In June, China initiated a road map for the settlement of North Korean crisis, a so-called double freeze plan, which outlines a scenario where there is simultaneous cessation of North Korea's nuclear activity and US-South Korean military exercises. The missiles would have to fly over Japan to reach their target, worrying Tokyo that warheads or missile debris could fall on its territory.

Military drills involving tens of thousands of US and South Korean troops are due to begin on Monday.

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Moon has repeatedly urged North Korea not to "cross the red line" but had not previously elaborated what that would constitute. North Korea has shown no sign of complying with the USA conditions.

Kono called on the North's traditional ally and main trading partner, China, to take actions "to make North Korea change its behavior". According to him, South Korea, Australia, India and Southeast Asian countries will increase their cooperation in security and defence more than ever. Much of it involves computer-based simulations.

During the meeting, Dunford highlighted the solidity of the US-Japan military alliance, while Abe expressed his gratitude toward US President Donald Trump for his commitment to defend US allies.

The United States reaffirmed that the military option remained on the table.

North Korea has in the past fired missiles and taken other steps in response to USA and South Korean exercises.

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