The US general had "delivered a clear message that North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs threaten the entire global community, including China, Russia, the US and our allies", James said.
Neither Tillerson nor Mattis responded directly to strategist Steve Bannon's argument in an interview published Wednesday that there's no military solution to the North Korean threat.
After North Korea and the United States traded bellicose threats of nuclear conflagration, all eyes will be on an annual war game in the South next week that could send tensions spiraling back upwards, analysts say.
In the 1990s, the large-scale Team Spirit exercises between the US and South Korea were canceled several times in a bid to get the North Koreans to abandon their nuclear program.
The statement said that during a meeting between Dunford and Song Puxuan, commander of the northern theatre of the People's Liberation Army, Song stressed that efforts to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula "should adhere to dialogue and political settlement".
Mr Trump has warned the North that it faces "fire and fury", while Pyongyang has threatened to strike the American territory of Guam.
The drills are important for another reason: China has called on the U.S.to halt them in order to start talks with North Korea, part of its freeze-for-freeze proposal that would also require Kim to suspend nuclear and missile tests.
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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford has strongly endorsed the statements by the leaders of the four major USA military services, who spoke out against racism and extremism after last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. He later tweeted that a military solution was "locked and loaded", after leader Kim Jong Un was said to be considering a provocative launch of missiles into waters near Guam.
"Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us", he told The American Prospect.
Dunford told reporters that he has advised the US leadership not to dial back on the exercises with South Korea. "I can confidently say there will not be a war again on the Korean Peninsula". "The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"
The head of the United States military said during a visit to Beijing that it was increasingly urgent for China to step up pressure on North Korea, according to a Pentagon spokesman on Wednesday. The exercises will take place from August 21 to 31.
"To ease the tense situation created by tit-for-tat escalations, to halt this vicious cycle, there is a need to put aside the dispute over who goes first and who goes second", she said, speaking at a regular briefing.
North Korea conducted what it said were two successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests in July, further raising tension after its four and fifth nuclear tests in 2016.
There is still a threat from North Korea, Dunford said. "North Korea is nearing a threshold for the red line", Moon said. North Korea on the other hand wants the U.S.to drop its hostile policies before agreeing to talks. Moon didn't elaborate, but many foreign experts have viewed the North's possessing a reliable ICBM as a tripwire for potential USA strikes.
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