The US Secretary of State John Kerry said today that Washington would defend its Asian allies from North Korea if necessary, but stressed that negotiation of a peaceful solution was preferable.
At a joint news conference with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, Kerry said:
"I think it is really unfortunate that there has been so much focus and attention in the media and elsewhere on the subject of war, when what we really ought to be talking about is the possibility of peace. And I think there are those possibilities."
However, Kerry confirmed that the US would "do what was necessary" to defend Japan and South Korea.
His comments came as North Korea branded South's Korea's calls for negotiation last week a "cunning trick" via the country's KCNA news agency.
US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Beijing to discuss North Korea situation - but does China have "more capacity to make a difference"?
When North Korea is threatening to launch missiles, targets unknown, there's a lot at stake.