Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with PACOM commander, Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., in Hawaii on Sunday while en route to Asia to meet with allies about heightening tensions with North Korea.

General Dunford’s trip is intended to “improve military-to-military ties during a complicated time in the region,” and is slated to include stops in South Korea and Japan, as well as with diplomatic opponent, China.

Effective military-to-military relations are important for our allies — we have to have transparency in our planning efforts — and we need to have effective military-to-military relations with China so there is no miscalculation,” Dunford said during an interview with reporters traveling with him. “During this trip I will work to improve our already strong military-to-military relationships in Seoul and Tokyo and to continue to develop the relationship I have had with [Chinese] General Fang Fenghui since our first conversation 16 months ago.”

North Korea’s two most recent long-range ballistic missile tests demonstrated that Kim Jong-un’s regime now possesses the technology to potentially reach targets as far away as America’s East Coast.  Soon thereafter, a new U.S. Intelligence report indicated that North Korea does indeed possess the necessary technology to create a compact enough version of a nuclear warhead to mount on such a missile.  Since then, the United States has adopted a more aggressive stance regarding Kim Jong-un’s threats of nuclear strikes.  This shift in rhetoric has left many concerned that the U.S. is moving further toward war with the reclusive state.