(CNN) – North Korea is “skating very close to a dangerous line” after weeks of saber-rattling, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Wednesday as northeast Asia watched for an expected missile test.

“Their actions and their words have not helped defuse a combustible situation,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon. He said the United States and its allies want to see North Korean rhetoric “ratcheted down,” but if that doesn’t happen, “our country is fully prepared to deal with any contingency.”

“We have every capacity to deal with any action North Korea will take to protect this country and the interests of this country and our allies,” Hagel said.

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