President Trump's Top Defense and Diplomatic Chiefs Insist There's a Military Option for North Korea

America's diplomatic and defense chiefs sought Thursday to reinforce the threat of possible U.S. military action against North Korea after President Donald Trump's top strategist essentially called the commander-in-chief's warnings a bluff.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stressed after security talks with close ally Japan that the U.S. seeks a peaceful solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. But he said a U.S.-led campaign of economic pressure and diplomacy needs to be backed by potential military consequences.

Washington is "prepared militarily" to respond, if necessary, he said.

Tillerson spoke after he and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis held annual security talks with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Foreign Minister Taro Kono at the State Department. Much of the discussion focused on North Korea, which also poses a threat to Japan.

Neither Tillerson nor Mattis responded directly to strategist Steve Bannon's argument in an interview published Wednesday that there's no military solution to the North Korean threat. But both Cabinet members sought to rebut the claim.

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