"We hope for a peaceful resolution but we needed to seriously have a conversation about what might happen if there was military action", Dunford said.
A statement on the Russian foreign ministry's website said Russian and China discussed "possible ways out of the confrontational spiral on the Korean Peninsula", and that "military adventures and threats of force" against North Korea were "unacceptable".
"We will defend the country from any attack, at any time, from any quarter".
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has been briefed on missile test plans to hit Guam, the U.S. Pacific territory, state media claimed early Turesday.
The United States is staying alert even if North Korea and Kim chose to wait for now.
Speaking at the Pentagon Monday, Mattis told reporters, "you don't shoot at people in this world unless you want to bear the consequences". "If the North releases the three Americans, as it did Canadian pastor Lim Hyeon-soo recently, then it will be much easier for the Trump administration to pursue high-level talks with Pyongyang".
Guam officials are taking the latest missive from North Korea as a sign that the rhetoric is calming down.
Meanwhile, Mr Mattis said he would know within moments where a North Korean missile was headed if one was launched.
According to the North's state media, Kim chose to hold off the strike after studying a report from his army that discussed their plans to launch missiles aimed at Guam.
Pompeo said "there's nothing imminent today", in response to a question about how anxious should people be over the escalating tensions.
The problem is that, even if Trump and Kim recognise the corner into which they have painted themselves, neither has the political space to backpedal on their threats without risking serious domestic and global humiliation.
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If, after all the fanfare, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un doesn't actually launch missiles toward Guam, many may write the whole episode off as another of the North's seemingly endless bluffs.
"The government, putting everything on the line, will block war by all means", Moon said.
This has led to growing calls among South Korean conservatives for the United States to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea after withdrawing them in the 1990s. That appeared to signal a path to defuse the crisis.
South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said his nation will do "all it can" to prevent violence from breaking out on the Korean Peninsula.
"I think, secondly, he was communicating to the world, to China and to others who can influence the outcome there". But its comments appeared to signal a path to defuse the crisis by saying Kim would watch US conduct before giving his orders. This might be hard as the United States and South Korea prepare for their military drills next week.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned Monday that an attack by North Korea against the United States could quickly escalate into war, as he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson moved to dial down tensions.
The Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that Kim during an inspection of the KPA's Strategic Forces praised the military for drawing up a "close and careful" plan.
If they "persist in their extremely risky reckless actions on the Korean peninsula", then North Korea would take action "as already declared", he was quoted as saying.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford speaks at a news conference at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017.