N. Korea Close to Long Range Missile Capability

American military aircraft included two B-1B bombers from a base in Guam and four F-35B stealth fighter jets from a base in Japan.

Responding to a question, Mattis said North Korea could do something like that (nuclear test) on relatively short notice.

Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over Japan earlier this week, causing alarm across the world and deep reflection from North Korea's neighbours on whether they are prepared to cope with a potentially devastating clash of arms.

North Korean missile launches have been happening at an unusually fast pace this year, and some analysts believe the North could have viable long-range nuclear missiles before the end of President Donald Trump's first term in early 2021. Washington, in turn, seeks with its joint drills with Seoul and bomber flights to show that it will not be pushed from its traditional role of supremacy in the region.

The videos showed two types of new missiles with ranges of 497 miles and 310 miles being fired from truck-mounted launchers during three tests conducted on Thursday.

U.S. defence secretary Jim Mattis has refuted claims that he disagrees with President Donald Trump on the best strategy to handle tensions with North Korea.

General Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy is the commander of U.S. Pacific Air Forces. "This complex mission clearly demonstrates our solidarity with our allies and underscores the broadening cooperation to defend against this common regional threat".

In Beijing, North Korea's ally China warned that war is not an option in finding a solution to the North's growing nuclear capabilities.

China repeated a call on Thursday for restraint by all parties.

The bombing exercise came as the United States and South Korea wrapped up their annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military drills that involved tens of thousands of soldiers.

In a rare move, South Korea's military released footage of its own missile tests that were conducted last week. Pyongyang had also launched projectiles over Japan in 1998.

Russia and China have created a roadmap for a settlement on the Korean Peninsula that is designed to promote the gradual easing of tensions and the creation of a mechanism for lasting peace and security, the Russian leader added.

The North incited global alarm on Tuesday when it fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan, triggering condemnation from the UN Security Council and world leaders including the USA and Britain.

Joseph Dunford is the top general of the USA military. The Pacific island is home to some of Washington's most powerful military hardware.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that the US is "never out of diplomatic solutions" following the latest missile launch by North Korea.

Le Drian called on Pyongyang to "return to the path of negotiations" in a bid to ease tensions.

  • Joey Payne