Friday's match came as the North's nuclear ambitions top the agenda at a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping after Pyongyang's latest missile launch this week.
North Korea has threatened pre-emptive strikes on US and allied military installations in response to what it calls political, military and economic pressure and provocations - a sign of growing concern in Pyongyang over Washington's shows of strength.
"If I were Tillerson and the Chinese said look we are anxious about this or that".
Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its weapons development.
By authorising military action, Donald Trump is differentiating himself from his predecessor - showing that he is prepared to act, that crossing a red line will have consequences - and that is a message created to be heard by the leaders of China and North Korea as well.
The North conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile tests a year ago, defying six Security Council sanctions resolutions banning any testing. Such flurry of launches indicates new advancements in the rogue nation's missile and nuclear weapons program.
Pyongyang's foreign ministry said on Thursday the country would blame the United States, regardless of which side initiates an outbreak of hostilities.
A packed crowd at the 40,000-plus capacity Kim Il-Sung stadium stood to hear the South Korean national anthem in respectful silence, before belting out the North's hymn.
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As if to underline the point, North Korean state media released photos of a smiling Kim inspecting a mushroom farm.
Scuds are filled with liquid fuel that make them harder to transport and prepare for launch than the more sophisticated solid-fuel rockets that the United States and other nations use.
The White House hopes the Chinese will do more to influence Pyongyang through diplomacy and enhanced sanctions. The missile strikes on Syria bring more weight to that statement.
"I think there's a shared view and no disagreement as to how unsafe the situation has become", Tillerson said on CBS' "Face the Nation". The big question, however, is whether North Korea is in fact so very unsafe.
A senior intelligence official told the network that he doubted USA and China could find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
Jia Qingguo, a professor of International Relations at Beijing University, said the North's nuclear arsenal and highly sensitive geopolitical position meant the fallout of any military action could be catastrophic.
The speed with which Trump made a decision to strike Syria and his willingness to do so unilaterally should also concentrate President Xi's mind.