Asserting that the United States is ready with all its contingency plans to defend itself and its allies from any misadventure from North Korea, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has warned that the isolated nation was "skating very close to a dangerous line”.
"North Korea has been, with its bellicose rhetoric, with its actions, skating very close to a dangerous line," said Hagel with Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"Their actions and their words have not helped defuse a combustible situation," he said.
The statement came as reports said that North Korea has positioned two mobile missile launchers on the country's east coast.
"We have every capacity to deal with any action that North Korea would take to protect this country and the interests of this country and our allies," Hagel said in response to a question.
Hagel said that the US had "every capacity to deal with" any action taken by the North against the US and its interests and allies.
"Now, in the event that that does not occur, our country is fully prepared to deal with any contingency, any action that North Korea may take or any provocation that they may instigate. And we have contingencies prepared to do that," Hagel said.
Hagel described the isolated nation's young leader, Kim Jong Un, as "unpredictable."
"That country is unpredictable," said Hagel.
Dempsey noted that the government has to assume "the worst case" because the North has previously conducted several successful missile launches.
"But they have conducted two nuclear tests. They have conducted several successful ballistic missile launches. And in the absence of concrete evidence to the contrary, we have to assume the worst case, and that's why we are postured as we are today," he said.