US defense chief says NKorea 'recklessly tried to provoke'

By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (AP) — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says North Korea’s latest failed missile launch was a reckless act of provocation.
Mattis commented on the weekend missile launch in an interview with reporters traveling with him Tuesday to Saudi Arabia, where he begins a weeklong Mideast tour. His language was stronger than in an initial written statement he issued shortly after the launch, in which he simply said he was aware of the failure.
On Tuesday, Mattis said North Korea’s leader “again recklessly tried to provoke something” by attempting to launch a ballistic missile that blew up shortly after ignition.
Mattis credited China with trying to help get the North Korea situation “under control” with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.