Defense chief visiting US nuclear base amid tensions with N. Korea

Defense chief visiting US nuclear base amid tensions with N. Korea
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Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital | Mattis, Tillerson reportedly opposed move | Pentagon admits 2,000 US troops are in Syria | Trump calls on Saudis to 'immediately' lift Yemen blockade Trump has yet to name ambassadors to key nations in Mideast Mattis, Tillerson warned Trump of security concerns in Israel embassy move MORE will pay a visit to one of the United States' strongest nuclear arsenals on Wednesday as North Korea flaunts its own nuclear weapons program. 

News of the visit was reported by The Associated Press.

Mattis will go to North Dakota's Minot Air Force base, which contains more than 100 nuclear missiles, and he will receive briefings from Strategic Command, which would play a central role in commanding forces in a nuclear war scenario. 

While the visit was set before Pyongyang's recent slew of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests, Mattis's appearance will offer a chance to highlight the U.S.'s fleet of nuclear missiles and aircraft.

North Korea claimed in September to that it successfully tested a miniaturized hydrogen bomb capable of fitting on an ICBM. 

Mattis delivered a stark warning to Pyongyang hours after the test, saying the country would be met with a "massive military response" if it threatened the U.S. or its allies.

"Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, will be met with a massive military response," he said. 

The United Nations Security Council on Monday voted to increase sanctions against North Korea in order to ramp up economic pressure in response to its latest nuclear test. 

President Trump has refused to rule out using a military strike to take out some of North Korea's nuclear facilities.