On Tuesday, a South Korean lawmaker said North Korean hackers had reportedly stolen a large cache of military documents from his country, including a wartime contingency plans drawn up by the United States and South Korea.
Operational Plan 5015 is the latest Seoul-Washington protocol for war with Pyongyang, and contains plans to "decapitate" the North Korean leadership.
The information, that included wartime contingency plans drawn up by the US and South Korea, was from the country's defence ministry, according to Rhee Cheol-hee, a South Korean lawmaker.
"South Korean and US air forces showed off the allies' resolve for strong retaliation against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats", the JCS said in a statement carried by local news agency Yonhap.
Senior diplomats of South Korea and the United States will hold a vice-ministerial strategic dialogue next week in Seoul, South Korea's foreign ministry said Wednesday.
It came days after he said that diplomatic efforts with North Korea have consistently failed, adding that "only one thing will work".
Meanwhile, China - North Korea's closest ally and trading partner - expressed alarm at how far the rhetoric on both sides had gone, warning of the increased risk of a "fatal misjudgement"."The worldwide community won't accept North Korea as a nuclear power".
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"There is an urgent need for the military to change and update parts that were stolen by North Korea", Lee said.
Mattis said the Trump administration was pursuing a diplomatic effort with North Korea, but the US military can do its part by staying ready.
A pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang's leadership would be hard to undertake, but it's widely seen as the most realistic of the limited military options Seoul has to deny a nuclear attack from its rival.
More recently, Seoul accused North Korea of having hacked, stolen and leaked sensitive military secrets and Seoul-Washington war plans.
Lee said that 235 gigabytes of military documents were taken, but the military has yet to identify 80 percent of the documents that were compromised.
North Korea's nuclear weapons program has become the most urgent national security issue during the Trump presidency.
According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency this is not the first time the communist regime to the north has launched a tirade of cyber attacks on the country, with hacks targeting government websites and facilities being commonplace in recent years.