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Fears of a clash were sharpened after US bombers flew off the coast of North Korea on Saturday —going further north of the demilitarized zone than any US aircraft has flown this century.
Fears of a clash were sharpened after US bombers flew off the coast of North Korea on Saturday —going further north of the demilitarized zone than any US aircraft has flown this century.

Mattis Says US Wants Diplomatic Fix for North Korea Crisis

Pyongyang’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, says “Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to take counter-measures including the right to shoot down US strategic bombers even when they are not yet inside the airspace bo

Mattis Says US Wants Diplomatic Fix for North Korea Crisis

The US wants a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday, as China warned there would be "no winners" in a war on the Korean peninsula.
Tensions have soared after Pyongyang claimed the United States had declared war against it and threatened to shoot down US bombers, in an escalating spat between President Donald Trump and the isolated regime, news outlets reported.
Mattis said Washington's goal was "to solve this diplomatically".
"We maintain the capability to deter North Korea's most dangerous threats but also to back up our diplomats in a manner that keeps this as long as possible in the diplomatic realm," he said in New Delhi after talks with his Indian counterpart.
The Pentagon chief's emphasis on diplomacy comes as Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un traded barbs in the wake of the North's sixth nuclear bomb and multiple missile tests. Pyongyang says it needs the weapons to defend itself against the threat of a US invasion.
The North's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho on Monday called a press conference to hit back at a US bomber mission near the North's coastline and a slew of bombastic warnings from the American president.
Taking umbrage at Trump's weekend tweet that North Korea's leadership "won't be around much longer" if it keeps up its threats, Ri told reporters that the international community hoped that a "war of words" would "not turn into real actions".
"However, last weekend, Trump claimed our leadership would not be around much longer," said Ri, who attended this year's UN General Assembly session. "He declared a war on our country."
Alarm over Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs dominated the gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, amid fears the heated rhetoric could accidentally trigger a war.
China, the North's neighbor and only major ally, warned Tuesday that any conflict would have "no winners".
Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing that the rhetorical sparring "will only increase the risk of confrontation and reduce the room for policy maneuvers".
South Korean President Moon Jae-in cautioned that the security situation on the peninsula was now "more serious than ever", according to the Yonhap news agency.
"We will make North Korea realize that it has no future should it try to face the rest of the world with nukes," he said, though he added there was still a chance for dialogue.
Fears of a clash were sharpened after US bombers flew off the coast of North Korea on Saturday —going further north of the demilitarized zone than any US aircraft has flown this century.
"Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to take counter-measures including the right to shoot down US strategic bombers even when they are not yet inside the airspace border of our country," Ri said.
"The question of who won't be around much longer will be answered then."
A Pentagon spokesman stressed the bombers flew in international airspace and had every right to do so.
***No Regime Change
The Trump administration said Monday it’s not seeking to overthrow North Korea’s government, calling Pyongyang’s assertion absurd that Donald Trump’s comment amounted to a declaration of war.
 “We have not declared war on North Korea. Frankly the suggestion of that is absurd,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “It’s never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country’s aircraft when it’s over international waters.”
“Our goal is still the same. We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” she said.
Cabinet officials, particularly Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have insisted the US-led diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea is focused on eliminating the pariah state’s nuclear weapons program, not its totalitarian government.

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