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>> America's Defense Chief, Jim Mattis, staring down North Korea at the border Friday, part of the visit to ally South Korea ahead of Donald Trump's Asia tour. Tensions flying high between Washington and Pyongyang over weapons tests, sparking fear of a miscalculation leading to armed conflict. But just steps away from North Korean soldiers in the Demilitarized Zone, as Reuters James Pierson reports, Mattis took a diplomatic tone saying, our goal is not war.
>> So ahead of a visit to South Korea by US President Donald Trump, we've got Mattis in town basically to try and push the idea there's still this diplomatic solution to the crisis with North Korea at the minute. So we've seen Mattis have a few meetings with his counterpart, South Korean Defense Minister.
And all the rhetoric he's using, despite being a military man, is pushing the idea that yeah, there's actually still a diplomatic way forward between the US and North Korea. Later in the day, Mattis met with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in who has pressed for negotiations with the North in contrast to Trump's aggressive stance.
But on Friday, he praised America's military assistance.>> Moon actually thanked Mattis for the US's help sending strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula which he described as an aggressive deployment which had helped deter the North Korean threat. Our correspondent who's been following Mattis also overheard a conversation between the Defense Minister and Mattis talking about the sheer number of artillery positions in North Korea which are pointed at Seoul, and the fact that there's very little that South Korea can do to stop them.
>> At the same time on Friday, Pyongyang said it would release a captured South Korean fishing boat, an unusual move that could avoid escalating already strained relations. Authorities had been searching for the crew for days. Trump kicks off his visit around the region next week. The US President has declined to say whether he too will visit the world's most heavily armed border.