The continued launch of ballistic missiles by North Korea has continued to draw world attention and the U.S Military is ready to provide options to Donald Trump.

Secretary of Defence, Jim Mattis issued a statement on Thursday on the issue.

He, however, stressed that diplomatic and economic efforts remained the tools of choice to convince North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile programmes.

“The President and Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, have been very clear that we are leading with diplomatic and economic efforts.

“The military remains ready in accordance with our alliance with Japan, with Korea,’’ Mattis said during a news conference at the Pentagon.

“The North Korean launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4 is a very serious escalation and provocation and also an affront to the United Nations Security Council resolutions,” he said.

The defence secretary stressed that the effort against North Korea was purely diplomatically led. The weapons of choice are economic sanctions and these would be buttressed by military capabilities, he said.

Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is the administration points man with regard to North Korea.

“We stand ready to provide options if they are necessary,’’ Mattis said, pointing out that diplomacy with regards to North Korea had not failed.

Mattis quoted General Vincent Brooks, the Commander of U.S. Forces in Korea, as saying that America and South Korea have exercised extreme self-restraint in avoiding war.

He noted the shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, the sinking of a South Korean ship earlier that year and other provocations at sea, on land and in cyberspace.

“Our self-restraint holds, and diplomatic efforts remain underway as we speak,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

The U.S. is working with allies to influence North Korea, while U.S. officials are also working with China – North Korea’s benefactor and the largest trading partner to place more pressure on North Korean leaders to stop the nuclear and missile programmes.