Defense Secretary James Mattis said during a Aug. 11 press conference that a war with North Korea would be "catastrophic."
"The American effort is diplomatically led, it has diplomatic traction, it is gaining diplomatic results and I want to stay right there right now," he told reporters in Mountain View, California, according to Fox News.
"The tragedy of war is well-enough known it doesn't need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic."
Mattis' comments follow President Donald Trump's threats against the rogue nation, according to CNN. Trump has been escalating tensions between North Korea, warning that if leader Kim Jong Un does not stop the country's pursuit of nuclear weapons, he will face "fire and fury like the world has never seen."
North Korea announced that military leaders are planning to launch four intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missiles only 25 miles off the coast of Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean. The country warned that the U.S. "would suffer a shameful defeat and final doom" if it "persists in extreme military adventure, sanctions and pressure."
Trump has stated that he is prepared to engage in all-out war if North Korea launches its missiles.
"Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!" Trump tweeted on Aug. 11.
The White House has distanced itself from the president's threats, and Mattis maintains that diplomatic efforts are the best way to combat this crisis.
He told reporters that the diplomacy effort spearheaded by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley "has [gained] diplomatic traction" and "is gaining diplomatic results," according to the BBC.
Mattis also noted that the U.S. is also ready for a military conflict if it comes to that.
"We're ready," he said, but refused to elaborate on the U.S. military strategy as he doesn't want to "tell the enemy in advance what I'm going to do."
A number of U.S. allies, including Australia and Japan, have said that they're prepared to stand with Trump and will take military action against North Korea if Jong Un launches an attack against Guam, according to Fox News.
The United Nations Security Council also unanimously voted to characterize North Korea's statements as a "threat to the world’s community." Mattis said that this show of support is heartening.
"How often to do you see France, China, Russia, the U.S. voting unanimously on any issue?" he asked.