US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will make his first trip to Asia next week and meet with senior officials to discuss North Korea's recent missile tests and US economic and security interests in the region.
He will arrive in Japan on March 15, continue on to South Korea on March 17 and visit China from March 18-19.
The trip comes after Pyongyang's latest missile launches and the assassination in Malaysia of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother have added urgency to the region's security situation, driving home the need for Washington to confront the challenge.
US President Donald Trump faces a growing test of resolve after vowing while campaigning to get tough on North Korea. Trump's aides are pressing to complete a strategy review on how to counter Pyongyang's missile and nuclear threats.