To deter North Korea, we can't pussyfoot around

NK stamp

On Monday, North Korea launched an intermediate range ballistic missile over Japan.

But with tensions surging, Mattis also said that there was still room for diplomacy.

Two B-1B "Lancer" bombers from Guam and four F-35B stealth jet fighters from the Marine Corps' Iwakuni airbase in Japan joined four South Korean jet fighters and two from Japan in the exercise over Japanese and South Korean air space, USA military officials said.

North Korea won't stop its military provocations toward its neighbors and the US's allies, but with the horrifying possibility that F-35s are lurking overhead, don't expect North Korea to kill anything more than fish with its missile forces.

Speaking ahead of a meeting at the Pentagon with his South Korean counterpart, Song Young-moo, Mr Mattis said, "We are never out of diplomatic solutions".

North Korea has recently increased missile test launches and its threats towards the USA and its territory of Guam, which lies in the Pacific roughly 2,100 miles away from Pyongyang, provoking a series of bellicose warnings from President Donald Trump that only resulted in attracting more mockery and threats.

The latest resolution, which aims to cut North Korea's $3 billion annual export revenue by a third, bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.

US President Donald Trump, who has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the mainland United States, said the world had received North Korea's latest message "loud and clear".

"I agree with the president..."

"We knew within minutes where it was going", he said.

However, he added, "they could do something like that on relatively short notice".

Experts say Kim wants a real nuclear deterrent against the United States to ensure the survival of his government and likely believes that it will strengthen his negotiating position when North Korea returns to talks. In a phone call with Tillerson, Lavrov "underscored... the need to refrain from any military steps that could have unpredictable consequences", the foreign ministry in Moscow said.

"A series of strong economic data reminded traders and investors that the (Federal Reserve) is on course to shrink its balance sheet and lift rates again", said Markus Allenspach, an analyst at Julius Baer.

"On a visit to Japan on Thursday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said London and Tokyo would work together to pressure North Korea "including by increasing the pace of sanctions" against Pyongyang".

North Korea had earlier threatened to fire a salvo of Hwasong-12s toward Guam, which is home to key USA military bases and strategic long-range bombers the North finds threatening.

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