China warns US to stay 'coolheaded' on North Korea

On Friday, Tillerson travels to South Korea, where U.S. forces are engaged in annual military drills that have angered Pyongyang.

Tillerson traveled to the Demilitarized Zone after landing at Osan Air Base on the second part of his three-nation Asia tour, which began in Japan and ends this weekend in China.

During a news conference in Japan he noted that the U.S. does not want a conflict with North Korea.

For instance, last week - on the same day North Korea launched its ballistic missiles - the United States military announced that it had officially begun the deployment of the THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system in South Korea.

Past US administrations have considered military force because of North Korea's development of nuclear weapons, but the option has rarely been expressed so explicitly.

"Obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten South Korean forces or our own forces that would be met with (an) appropriate response", he said.

"If they elevate the threat of their weapons programme to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table", Mr Tillerson said when asked about military action. In one, a Chinese ship captured a US drone close to the Philippines, which was later returned.

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But some experts have thrown cold water on the notion that the Trump administration was actually pursuing a new, more belligerent stance toward North Korea.

Wang insisted the tensions on the peninsula were about the hostility between Pyangyong and Washington and said the issues should be resolved by talks. "All options are on the table", Secretary Tillerson said, according to Reuters.

The US has a trade deficit of US$347 billion (S$487 billion) with China.

However, Tillerson yesterday held lengthy round of "frank and candid" talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Haley talked with Bill Hemmer amid Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's first trip to the region. Previous North Korean provocations have been attempts to prod negotiations or intimidate South Korea. The engine is believed to be able to help the country achieve world-class satellite launch capability, says Reuters, indicating the test was likely of a new type of rocket engine for long-range missiles.

Roughly 30 tourists on the North Korea side greeted Tillerson and took his photograph before being ushered away as he stepped onto the demarcation line. The US has sought to pressure China, North Korea's main trading partner and historic ally, to use its influence to curb its rogue neighbor's weapons program. "But this 20 years of talking has brought us to the point we are today", Tillerson told reporters.