Washington, Jan 13 (Agencies): Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that any potential provocation from North Korea could turn catastrophic.

"The potential provocations could become more and more catastrophic. And that's been a principal point of focus as we look at engaging the leadership in China and others to say this is something we really have to figure out a way to deter in the future," said Mullen.

"I believe that China has a great responsibility with respect to this," he added.

Referring to reports that North Korea was developing Inter Continental Ballistic Missile Capabilities, in addition to the nuclear capabilities, Mullen said it was a dangerous time in the region, in view of the recent provocative behaviour from Pyongyang.

"I think all of that is meant to say this is a very dangerous time in that regard there and that it is important for all of us to bring as much pressure as we can to ensure that we can deter the leadership in North Korea during what we believe is a time of succession, not knowing exactly when that's going to occur," he said.

But if the past is prologue there, the succession plan usually shows or generates a series of provocations and that has been the case recently, the official said.