Tillerson told reporters in Seoul on March 17 that the US wasn't interested in conducting direct talks with North Korea to halt its weapons program, saying instead that tighter sanctions enforcement and the possibility of a military strike were being considered as part of a continuing policy review by the Trump administration.
The Singaporean daily cited a report by the United Nations Security Council that said a similarly named and aged man had travelled to countries, including Malaysia, since 2012 as an operative of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corp, North Korea's main arms trader.
North Korea, banned from conducting long-range missile testing, claims its satellite program is intended for peaceful use.
North Korea has issued a threat of nuclear war against the United States and its ally, South Korea, in retaliation for even the a misdirected shot fired in its direction during the war games being conducted by the USA and South Korean militaries.
A VIP is among several more people police are looking for to help in the murder probe of North Korean Kim Jong-nam, says Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
Trump said administration officials had meetings during the weekend about North Korea, among other issues.
Many analysts linked the timing of the test to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's first visit to north Asia, which ended in Beijing Sunday. But if Pyongyang were to "elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, then that option's on the table". "And I think makes it less likely that we'll get the type of cooperation from South Korea or China because they want to understand what our policy is".
Euan Graham, director of global security at Australia's Lowy Institute, said the North Korea's twin civilian and military rocket programs may have "become so sophisticated they're moving on separate tracks".
Jong-nam, who carried a passport bearing the name, "Kim Chol", died on the way to the Putrajaya Hospital.
On March 9 Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies calculated a 43-percent chance of such a WMD event before the end of this week, and a 62-percent chance by April 8.