News Wrap: North Korean strike on U.S. could lead to war, says Mattis
HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day's other news: The U.S. has issued a new warning amid the rising tensions with North Korea. Secretary of Defense James Mattis says the U.S. will — quote — "take out" any missile the North fires towards the U.S. territory of Guam. And Mattis said a North Korean strike on U.S. could lead to war, that as the top American military officer was in South Korea.
Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford said diplomacy remains the priority.
GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff : It would be a horrible thing were war to be conducted here on the peninsula, and that is why we are so focused on coming up with a peaceful way ahead that denuclearizes the peninsula.
Nobody is looking for war. Our job is to make sure that our leadership, both the South Korean leadership and the U.S. leadership, have viable military options in the event that deterrence fails, and that is what we are going to deliver.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Meanwhile, China's Commerce Ministry has ordered a ban on imports of coal, iron ore, lead and seafood from North Korea. It's part of the implementation of new U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang.
We will have more on the North Korea situation later in the program.
President Trump has asked his trade office to look into China's alleged theft of American technology and intellectual property. It comes as the U.S. seeks Beijing's help on North Korea. But an administration official said the move was unrelated. Mr. Trump signed an executive action on a possible probe. During a White House ceremony, he said the it was just the beginning.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's my duty and responsibility to protect the American workers, technology and industry from unfair and abusive actions. We will stand up to any country that unlawfully forces American companies to transfer their valuable technology as a condition of market access.
HARI SREENIVASAN: A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman called on the U.S. to avoid sparking a trade war, which she said would have — quote — "no winners."
At least 250 people are dead after a massive mudslide in the West African country of Sierra Leone. Heavy rains sparked the deadly torrent, which swept through the outskirts of the capital, Freetown. Amateur video captured the surging waters as they rushed through city streets. Officials warn the death toll will likely rise as the flooding recedes.
In Burkina Faso, suspected Islamist militants killed at least 18 people in an attack on a restaurant. It happened in the country's capital and officials said several foreigners were among the dead. Cell phone video showed an exchange of heavy gunfire between the security forces and the two attackers, who were killed.
Vice President Mike Pence address the crisis in Venezuela, just days after President Trump said military action there is an option. Pence was visiting Colombia, whose leader said yesterday military intervention shouldn't even be considered. In Cartagena, Pence met with people who've fled the Venezuela unrest. He said the U.S. would use all its economic and diplomatic power to restore democracy.
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: We will not stand by while Venezuela collapses into dictatorship. We will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles. But it's important to note, as the president said, that a failed state in Venezuela threatens the security and prosperity of our entire hemisphere and the people of the United States of America.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In Venezuela, thousands of government supporters took to the streets of Caracas to denounce President Trump's talk of a military option. Embattled President Nicolas Maduro joined the crowd and called Mr. Trump an emperor.
Back in this country, California is suing the federal government over a threat to withhold public safety money from so-called sanctuary cities. California is the first state to enter the legal fray over the policy, joining at least seven cities and counties.
In San Francisco, the state's attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said the government is unfairly targeting local law enforcement.
XAVIER BECERRA, California Attorney General: It is hard to believe now that the federal government would try to jeopardize those crime-fighting funds simply because it wishes to pressure local governments to do their bidding on federal immigration law.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Becerra said California's lawsuit will be coordinated with the suit filed last week by the city of San Francisco.
On Wall Street today, technology companies and banks helped stocks regain some of the ground they lost last week. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 135 points to close at 21993. The Nasdaq rose 83 points. And the S&P 500 added 24.