Chinese-Russian naval drills begin off North Korea

North Korean regime showed a purportedly successful missile launch in June 2016

North Korean regime showed a purportedly successful missile launch in June 2016

The U.S. military is ready to take action against missiles from North Korea that pose a threat to America or its allies, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said.

Separately, Mattis told reporters that he believed diplomacy and sanctions were so far succeeding in putting more pressure on Pyongyang.

The drills are the first flights since North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 - along with staging another missile test over Japan, sending regional tensions soaring.

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, claims Pyongyang needs a nuclear weapons programme to deter the U.S. from invading the isolated state.

South Korea and the United States also staged military drills in the Korean Peninsula on Monday, conducting bombing exercises involving six USA planes and four South Korean fighter jets, according to Song Young-moo, the South Korean defence minister. Mattis acknowledged discussing that with his South Korean counterpart but declined to say whether that option was under consideration.

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It comes as North Korea test launched another missile over Japan on Friday following an earlier hydrogen bomb test which sparked a 6.3 magnitude quake.

Such tests are in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and show that North Korea can now target the United States or Europe, Abe said.

"We are dealing with the North Korea situation through the global process and we will continue to do so". The South Korean capital's 10 million residents live just 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the border - well within North Korea's artillery range.

North Korean soldiers parade in Pyongyang, North Korea. "North Korea should realize that dialogue and cooperation, not nukes and missiles, are the only means to protect its security and guarantee a bright future", President Moon Jae-in said via a video message.

Japan's Constitution, which limits the use of force to self-defense, only allows the military to shoot down missiles that are heading to Japan, or debris falling onto Japanese territory.

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Japan and US missile defenses and radars are operating, he added, and North Korea is intentionally initiating provocations "that seem to press against the envelope for just how far can they push without going over some kind of a line in their minds that would make them vulnerable".

The U.S, Japan, China and Russian Federation are all holding military exercises right now.

Separately, Mattis also attempted to scale back expectations for a tidy outcome to the 16-year USA war in Afghanistan.

The bottom line, he said, is that if the missiles were a threat to Guam or Japan, "that would elicit a different response from us".

"Yes, I don't want to go into that", Mattis responded.

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"The State Department expressed its understanding of South Koreans' concerns but was negative to the idea of redeploying tactical nukes out of concern about a possible escalation of regional tensions, and in line with the US position toward denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, they said in the statement.

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