By Victoria Craw
President Donald Trump said US military solutions are "locked and loaded" in a direct threat against North Korea as tensions continue to mount.
The President made the announcement on Twitter early Friday morning, saying that "military solutions are now fully in place ... should North Korea act unwisely."
"Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!" he wrote. He also retweeted a US Pacific Command message that said US planes stand ready to "fulfill a #FightTonight mission".
The threats follow a week of escalating rhetoric between the two countries after the US threatened "fire and fury" against the rogue state.
North Korea retaliated by releasing potential plans to strike the US territory of Guam in the Western Pacific, however US diplomats say a dialogue is being pursued and Americans should "sleep well" at night.
Prime Minister Bill English said he had talked to Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee which reinforced the view he had made publicly "that escalating tension doesn't help, that we want to see the peaceful resolution of the tensions."
He said he had not seen the CNN coverage which highlights him as one of the leaders who has been critical of US President Donald Trump.
"But I'd imagine everyone is concerned that the pressure from US, China and Russia is maintained and that that is the method by which North Korea's ambitions might be contained."
On Thursday North Korea threatened to use its young people to "blow the US from this planet".
The country's official Korean Central News Agency reported on a mass rally held in Pyongyang's Kim Il-sung Square and cited the secretary of the Pyongyang City Youth League Committee as saying "the young people in the country would become five million human bullets and bombs and nuclear warheads to blow the US from this planet".
Meanwhile Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia would come to the aid of the United States if North Korea attacks America.
"We have an ANZUS agreement and if there is an attack on Australia or the US then each of us will come to the other's aid," he told 3AW.
"Australia will come to the aid of the US just as if there was an attack on Australia, the US would come to our aid."
Despite the rhetoric, U.S. officials said there was no major movement of U.S. military assets to the region, nor were there signs Pyongyang was actively preparing for war.
Military officials will move ahead with planned drills between the US and South Korea.
Called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, the exercises are expected to run from August 21-31 and involve tens of thousands of American and South Korean troops on the ground and in the sea and air.
Washington and Seoul say the exercises are defensive in nature and crucial to maintaining a deterrent against North Korean aggression.
The exercises were scheduled well before tensions began to rise over President Donald Trump's increasingly fiery rhetoric and North Korea's announcement of the missile plan, which if carried out would be its most provocative launch yet.
The streets of Pyongyang also reportedly remain calm amid rising tension in the region.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she doesn't see a military solution to rising tensions between the United States and North Korea and called for a de- escalation of the rhetoric.
Asked Friday about U.S. President Donald Trump's latest statements, Merkel declined to say whether Germany would stand with the U.S. in case of a military conflict with North Korea. She said, "I don't see a military solution and I don't think it's called for."
- additional reporting by NZ Herald