The Pentagon played down the news that the head of US Forces Korea has decided to stay inSouth Korea rather than coming to Washington to testify on Capitol Hill this week as he had been scheduled to do.

Senior US military officials called the move by Gen. James Thurman “a prudent measure,” made in consultation with South Korea and in light of recent tensions on the peninsula. And this prudence – along with several other recent events – signals a quiet but concerted campaign on the part of senior Pentagon officials to noticeably ratchet down tensions with North Korea.

The Pentagon, for example, decided to delay an intercontinental ballistic missile test that had been set for this week – even though it had nothing to do with the North Korea crisis.