State Department Press Briefing on North Korea

A pair of B-1B Lancer bombers

Though dwarfed by the U.S.' military, North Korea's is still one of the largest in the world, with 1.2 million active service members, nuclear weapons, and tens of thousand of artillery at its disposal.

If carried out, it would be the North's most provocative missile launch to date.

The United States and South Korea remain technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Mattis issued a statement as he traveled to the West Coast.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday became the second cabinet official to tone down President Trump's call of "fire and fury" against North Korea, saying the current US approach to that nation's threats is a "diplomatic" one. Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and fury" in return.

'But of course if North Korea decides to carry out some of its violent threats, then obviously awful consequences will follow, and there's no point ducking that inevitable outcome, ' he said, promising Australian military support for the United States if it was attacked.

"The VIX index struck its most extreme levels since Donald Trump won the U.S. election".

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"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely", President Trump said on Friday, in his latest salvo in the exchange of rhetoric with the isolated regime.

"While our State Department is making every effort to resolve this global threat through diplomatic means, it must be noted that the combined allied militaries now possess the most precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth", Mattis said.

During a brief scheduled stop in Guam, Tillerson suggested Trump's rhetoric is a strategy he is using as head of state to communicate clearly with Kim.

'The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is highly complicated and sensitive.

Speaking to journalists at his New Jersey golf club, the President said that he didn't think his comments had been "tough enough".

"I was not elected, the American people elected the president", he said.