North Korea 'most urgent' threat to security: Mattis

North Korea 'most urgent' threat to security: Mattis

North Korea 'most urgent' threat to security: Mattis

Later on Tuesday, the South's military said a North Korean soldier defected to the South across their heavily mined border, known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

The launch came days after US aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan left those waters after joint exercises with the South Korean navy.

"It's complex. I guess it's a combination of North Korea's constant nuclear and missile tests, the global community's response and the change in the public view", Cho said, when asked about the reason behind the standoff.

The drone was found in a South Korean border town last Friday and South Korean investigators have discovered hundreds of photos in its Sony-made camera, a Defense Ministry official said, requesting anonymity because of department rules.

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North Korea said: "This is because its hostile policy will end in futile when the DPRK conducts the test-fire of an ICBM capable of precisely striking any place on the United States mainland".

Last month, Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, the US Defence Intelligence Agency chief, said it was "inevitable" that a nuclear weapon launched from North Korea would hit the US mainland.

The isolated country, which has conducted dozens of missile tests and tested two nuclear bombs since the beginning of 2016 in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, says the programme is necessary to counter United States aggression.

North Korea has touted its drone program in recent years, and South Korean officials believe its military has about 300 drones.

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Moon said after the new launches that his government "won't back off even a single step and make any compromise" on the issue of national security. It swept over the site before making a U-turn a few kilometers south of the site, the official said.

South Korea's president signaled he'd take a softer stance on North Korea before being elected.

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, also said in a wide-ranging policy suggestion piece in the Foreign Affairs that the primary goal of the USA relations with China should be to win cooperation over the North.

Chung Eui-yong called the decision to delay installation of remaining launchers of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system, pending a review of its environmental impact, a domestic measure to ensure a democratic process.

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