When North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un delivered his annual address in Pyongyang on January 1 and declared that his country was in the final stages of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that would be capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to targets in the continental United States, many viewed the regime's claim with skepticism.
North Korea has threatened to launch nuclear weapons at New York City in response to President Donald Trump's tweets against Pyongyang, the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday. North Korea has accused the USA of escalating tensions with its actions and refers to its missile launches as measures to safeguard its country.
But Mattis said on Monday that any military action against North Korea would have disastrous consequences for the Korean Peninsula.
Responding to Pyongyang's development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, the USA and Seoul agreed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system to South Korea past year - a move which triggered outrage from both Pyongyang and Beijing.
The missiles are the fourth new missile system North Korea has disclosed and tested this year, sending a defiant message that it will continue to pursue a weapons program that has rattled its neighbors and Washington.
The source knowledgeable about North Korea said, "There is the possibility North Korean leadership has determined that the environment to proceed with a nuclear test has been established".
His appointment by President Moon Jae-in is seen as aimed at seeking improvement in inter-Korean ties which have been long strained under his two conservative predecessors.
The nominee, Song Young-moo, was well suited to deal with North Korea's nuclear and missile threat, the presidential Blue House office said.
The drone was suspected to be from North Korea, the official added.
Despite their longstanding differences - the two countries are still technically at war - South and North Korea have a strong shared footballing history.
"We want to start discussions with China and Japan on this idea", a spokesman for the Korea Football Association (KFA) Cho Jun-Heon said.
The U.S. and South Korean militaries have been transporting oil, personnel and various equipments to the THAAD site through helicopters tens of times per day, making the residents anxious and stressful, said the statement.
The firing of cruise missiles, unlike ballistic missiles, does not violate the Security Council resolutions against North Korea.
Kim Jong-Un's propaganda machine added that the United States will not dare think to wage war against North Korea, especially now that they have ICBMs that can strike NY.
"If this goes to a military solution, it's going to be tragic on an unbelievable scale", Mattis said in May, so the current policy involves economic and diplomatic pressure.
"If North Korea follows the template used by other missile powers, it would focus its efforts on one or both IRBMs for the next 12 to 36 months, and only then begin test launches of an ICBM", Elleman, who also contributes to North Korea monitoring site 38 North, tells Newsweek.