Hagel: North Korea rhetoric is real danger to US

WASHINGTON (AP) - Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel says North Korea's recent rhetoric presents a real, clear danger and threat to the US and its Asia-Pacific allies and says America is doing all it can to defuse the situation.

Hagel tells an audience at the National Defence University that there is a path to peace on the troubled Korean peninsula, but it does not include making nuclear threats or taking provocative actions.

Hagel's comments come as tensions continue to rise between North and South Korea, triggering a show of military strength by the US in the surrounding skies and waters.

North Korea vowed Tuesday to increase production of nuclear weapons materials, and it has threatened a pre-emptive strike against the US.

The US has dispatched bombers, stealth fighters and ships to the region.