Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday that a North Korean missile strike on the U.S. could "escalate into war very quickly."
He added that the U.S. will "take out" any North Korean missile heading for American soil, including the Pacific island of Guam.
This statement echoed what President Donald Trump tweeted Friday.
"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely," Trump tweeted. "Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!"
Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2017
North Korea previously said it is considering a plan to launch four ballistic missiles to land in the sea near Guam.
When asked how the U.S. would respond, Mattis said if tracking systems determined the missile would fall into the sea just short of Guam, it would be up to the president to determine how to respond.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.