United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that “talking was not the answer” to resolve the North Korean crisis, reported Reuters. “The US has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years,” Trump said on Twitter. “Talking is not the answer!”

However, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis appeared to contradict Trump when questioned by reporters. “We are never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis said before a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo. “We continue to work together, and the minister and I share a responsibility to provide for the protection of our nations, our populations and our interests.”

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on phone that the US should refrain from any military action in the Korean Peninsula that would be fraught with “unpredictable consequences”. This comes as Tillerson, Mattis, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairperson Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats gear up to hold classified briefings on the North Korean crisis for the US Congress on September 6.

On Wednesday, North Korea had confirmed that it had fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, and said it was meant to counter military drills conducted by the United States and South Korea.

Ties have worsened between the United States and North Korea since Pyongyang said it was planning to strike the US Pacific Territory of Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic missiles. On August 9, Trump had warned Pyongyang that any threat to the country will be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen”. He had also warned North Korea that it would “truly regret” if it was to act against any US territory or allies.