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Mattis stresses diplomacy in handling North Korea's 'reckless rhetoric'

Mattis stresses diplomacy in handling North Korea's 'reckless rhetoric'
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Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisBiden's is not a leaky ship of state — not yet Rejoining the Iran nuclear deal would save lives of US troops, diplomats The soft but unmatched power of US foreign exchange programs MORE in a meeting with his South Korean counterpart called for diplomacy in dealing with provocations by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"Diplomacy should impose reason on Kim’s reckless rhetoric and dangerous provocations," Mattis said, according to Reuters

Mattis's remarks came during a visit to U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii on the last leg of a trip that also brought him to Indonesia and Vietnam. 

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Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have soared over the past year amid a series of advancements in Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing MORE has repeatedly warned that he has not ruled out a military option for dealing with North Korea, and has said that the U.S. would "totally destroy" the country if it threatened the U.S. or its allies. 

The president's remarks have raised concerns in the region that the U.S. and North Korea are hurtling toward a confrontation. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Thursday that a military response to Pyongyang's provocations would be "unacceptable."

Diplomacy between the two Koreas got a boost earlier this month when officials from the two countries met for the first time in years regarding North Korea's participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which is set to begin next month.