North Korea on "Maximum Alert"

He said that an "all-out war" would result if the U.S. took military action.

Mattis struck an even tougher tone on North Korea in an interview with reporters traveling with him to Saudi Arabia.

"But the era of strategic patience is over", he declared. It has said it has developed a missile that can strike the mainland United States, but officials and experts believe it is some time away from mastering the necessary technology, including miniaturizing a nuclear warhead. But Kim Jong Un, North Korea's current leader, only took power in 2011, during the Obama years.

Mr Han told the BBC: "If the U.S. is planning a military attack against us, we will react with a nuclear pre-emptive strike by our own style and method".

North Korea has conducted a series of ballistic missile launches in recent months in defiance of United Nation sanctions and concerns have been growing that the reclusive state could soon conduct a sixth nuclear test. He said the Trump administration's plans to simplify the US tax code and cut the corporate tax rate will "benefit every business represented here today". "I am not so sure and the South Korean people are not so sure".

It's easy to laugh at the gaffe, but Trump's ignorance about the leadership of one of the most risky nations on earth is deeply worrying given that tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are increasing by the day.

However, a display of military might coinciding with the celebration fizzled, as a North Korean missile exploded shortly after being launched.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two past year.

Vice President Pence, visiting Japan on his 10-day tour of Asia, said the US has launched bilateral talks with Tokyo in the hopes of reaching a new trade agreement. "They have been talking with this gentleman for a long time", he said, referring to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

"Today we are beginning a process of economic dialog", he said in Tokyo.

USA defence officials told CNN News that the tests have been in the pipeline as part of the military's overall ballistic missile defence programme in the wake of North Korean or Iranian threats.

"Are you concerned that what you are saying is being taken in North Korea as saber-rattling despite the fact that you're also talking about diplomacy?"

"Short of launching a shock and awe campaign which would be overwhelming in its breadth and scale there's not a lot else the U.S. and its allies can do other than tighten the constrictor grip on the North", said Alex Neill, a senior fellow at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

What does North Korea say?

Vice-Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol told the BBC that North Korea believed its nuclear weapons "protect" it from the threat of United States military action.

"If the U.S. is reckless enough to use military means it would mean from that very day, an all-out war", he said.

Christopher Hill, former Ambassador to South Korea, joined Kilmeade & Friends to discuss the growing tensions between the U.S. & North Korea.

China has reiterated its call for North Korea to stop all tests, and has also called for a peaceful solution.

Previous U.S. administrations have considered shooting down North Korean test missiles - as the country has been at odds with Western nations for decades - but the option has never been utilized, due mostly to the potentially dire consequences of militarily escalating tensions with Pyongyang. Russia, which is not directly involved, is also against the nuclear programme but has warned against any unilateral United States action against Pyongyang.

  • Leroy Wright