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Jim Mattis warns if North Korea fires at U.S. it could ‘escalate into war’

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis answers questions while speaking at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental in Mountain View, Calif. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

WASHINGTON – Defence Secretary Jim Mattis says the U.S. will “take out” any North Korean missile it detects is heading for American soil, including the Pacific island of Guam.

Mattis says a North Korean missile strike on the U.S. would mean war.

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“If they fire at the United States, it could escalate into war very quickly,” Mattis said.

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North Korea has said it is considering a plan to launch four ballistic missiles to land in the sea just short of Guam.

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Asked how the U.S. would respond, Mattis initially declined to say.

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When pressed, he said that if U.S. radars and other detection and tracking systems determine that a missile was going to fall into the sea, short of Guam, then the matter would be taken to President Donald Trump for a decision on how to respond.

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