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May 19, 2:42 PM EDT

Mattis: Military solution to NKorea would be 'tragic'


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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis says a military solution to the standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale."

Mattis says the North's latest missile test showed it wasn't heeding cautions from the international community. But he stressed the need for a peaceful resolution by working through the U.N. and with countries including China.

Mattis told reporters Friday that North Korea "probably learned a lot" from last weekend's launch. He said the missile went very high and came down, but he would not characterize it as demonstrating the controlled re-entry of a missile.

Guiding a long-range missile to a target on return to Earth is a key technological hurdle North Korea must overcome in perfecting a missile that threatens the United States.

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