The United States is sending mixed signals to Kim Jong-un with President Donald Trump saying that "talking is not the answer" when it comes to reining in North Korea - contradicting his Cabinet officials, who insist that Washington would continue to seek a diplomatic resolution to Pyongyang nuclear and ballistic missile programme.
Indicating a military option to deal with North Korea, Trump tweeted, "The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!"
It was not clear whether Trump was referring to the financial and food aid given to the North Korean regime in exchange for Pyongyang's commitment to curb its nuclear programmes.
Meanwhile, defence secretary James Mattis has opted for diplomatic talks and has said that the U.S. is "never out of diplomatic solutions" for dealing with the North Korean aggression.
"We're never out of diplomatic solutions," he said.
"We always look for more. We're never complacent," Mattis said, days after North Korea launched a missile that flew over northern Japan.
The North Korean launch was "the first step of the military operation (of the North Korean military) in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam," North Korean state media said, doubling down on Pyongyang's threats in early August to strike the U.S. territory, home to strategic U.S. military bases.
"The idea that this is part of a "good cop, bad cop" strategy seems to be an attempt to excuse the reality that the Trump administration is in chaos when it comes to North Korea," CNN quoted Abraham Denmark, a former assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, as saying, who sees no coherent administration strategy on Pyongyang.
In a statement from the White House on Tuesday, Trump said "all options" are on the table regarding North Korea.
"Threatening and destabilising actions only increase the North Korean regime's isolation in the region and among all nations of the world," the President said.