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Mattis vows 'immediate, specific' actions to intercept NK missile

Mattis vows 'immediate, specific' actions to intercept NK missile

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

The U.S. and Japan on Thursday agreed to ramp up their defense commitments to counter the threat from North Korea, during the U.S. -Japan Security Consultative Committee held in Washington.

The ministry also plans to secure a budget to create a new "space unit" inside the self-defence Forces that will be tasked with protecting satellites that are used by Japan and the United States for among other purposes to detect ballistic missile launches.

The U.S. and Japanese defense chiefs and top diplomats were meeting in Washington Thursday to discuss North Korea amid mixed messages from the Trump administration on how to deal with the nuclear and missile threat.

US President Donald Trump has warned of "fire and fury" if North Korea threatens the United States, and said the US military is "locked and loaded".

Tillerson declined to respond directly to Bannon's comments when asked about it after security talks on Thursday with another USA ally, Japan.

"I think we have been quite clear as to what the policy and the posture toward North Korea is", Tillerson added.

The conference ended with a strong statement condemning North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests, but USA officials have had to repeatedly reassure allies that Trump does not intend to escalate an already precarious standoff.

Following North Korea's statements on its potential to launch four ballistic missiles that could create an "enveloping fire" around the USA territory of Guam, Japan recently deployed the Patriot Advanced Capability or PAC-3 interceptor unit to four prefectures in western Japan.

"They got us", Bannon told the American Prospect.

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The new equipment, known as Aegis Ashore, will be a land-based version of the Aegis missile defence system.

Japan's foreign minister, Taro Kono, said they agreed to call on China to take "specific measures to make North Korea change its behavior", leading to a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Tokyo also wants to increase the number of Aegis destroyers to five, according to the report.

North Korean missiles would have to fly over Japan to reach the Guam area, worrying Tokyo that warheads or missile debris could fall on its territory.

"With a unified worldwide message like we've never had before", North Korea will realise the level of isolation that it faces, Mr Tillerson said while standing next to Defence Secretary James Mattis and Japan's top diplomat and defence chief.

Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the exercises were "not now on the table as part of the negotiation at any level".

"We have deepened and broadened our combined military efforts, by improving our bilateral relations and exercises", Mattis said at a press conference following the talks.

Easing tensions this week, North Korean media announced that Kim delayed a decision on firing four missiles toward Guam, home to a United States air base and Navy facility.

It seems that North Korea is hopeful for direct talks with the United States through the help of the Japanese government.


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