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Key Trump administration figures shaping the North Korea debate

11 August 2017

"Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security Council's unified voice, and statements from governments the world over, who agree the DPRK poses a threat to global security and stability", he said.

Here are the administration's top figures shaping the debate on North Korea policy and their views on how to counter Pyongyang. President Trump has made revamping USA missile defense systems a top objective for the Pentagon since taking office.

Tillerson said the United States is hopeful that its pressure campaign, with the engagement of China and Russian Federation, two of North Korea's closest neighbors, can begin to persuade the regime they need to take a different diplomatic path, and that nothing that he's seen or that he knows of "would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours". "I think the president wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime that the U.S. has an unconditional ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies".

One U.S. official, however, said there was no sign that Bannon intervened in an effort to promote more threatening rhetoric against North Korea.

Following reports that USA intelligence suggests the North might be able to pair a nuclear warhead with a missile capable of reaching targets on the United States mainland, Trump warned North Korea that "it faces retaliation with fire and fury unlike any the world has seen before".

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Speaking to reporters in New Jersey, the President said: "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States".

Since 2015, Guam has been defended by the U.S. "Guam is American soil and we have 200,000 Americans in Guam and the Marianas", he said.

Kim Jong-un, the Communist dictator of the Democratic Republic of North Korea.

In the past, Mattis has said any conflict with North Korea would be "like nothing we have seen since 1953", referring to the end of the Korean War.

A new report says Pyongyang's nuclear programme is progressing.

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Air Forces Pacific last week announced that 12 F-16s and 200 Wisconsin Air National Guardsmen would join in the Ulichi exercises later this month.

Mattis's comments came shortly after President Donald Trump warned North Korea it should be "very, very nervous" if it thinks of attacking America, and doubled down on a vow to rain "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it continued to threaten the US.

In the meantime, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought to assure Americans there was no imminent threat.

Asked whether he had considered rerouting his trip to Guam, given its status as a potential target, the secretary said that the "North Korean missile capability can point in many directions" and that he did not consider changing course.

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Key Trump administration figures shaping the North Korea debate