S Korea's Moon urges calm on N Korea, says war unthinkable

15 August, 2017, 00:10 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • The US CIA head expects more missile tests from Pyongyang but said there's no imminent threat of nuclear war

He was due to leave South Korea later on Monday and will make stops in China and Japan this week. Beijing is North Korea's biggest economic partner and source of aid.

"Moon has been telling Trump that a military option should never be considered, but there is not much we can do when two strong leaders (of North Korea and the United States) are clashing", said Lee Su-hoon, who headed a group of national security advisers for the president until July.

He said the 1950-53 Korean war had "cost more than a million lives, left cities in ruins and perpetuated the division of the peninsula".

The top USA military officer and the senior American commander in South Korea vowed to press ahead with planned military drills with Seoul this month, despite claims by the North that such exercises are a direct threat to the regime in Pyongyang.

North Korea, meanwhile, has threatened to lob four intermediate-range missiles into the waters near Guam, a tiny US territory about 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) from Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

The tests are seen as a milestone in the North's quest to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

In his meetings, the chairman of the joint chiefs appeared to offer a modified version of the threats that President Trump has been making over the past week.

Trump also said the United States was considering tighter sanctions against North Korea.

"There's nothing imminent", Mr. Pompeo said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" "There's no intelligence indicating we're on the cusp of a nuclear war".

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On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis ran an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, stressing that Washington's top priority remains the ongoing "peaceful pressure campaign", though it is ready for military action if necessary.

"We're all looking to get out of this situation without a war", Dunford said.

"I am certain the United States will respond to the current situation calmly and responsibly in a stance that is equal to ours", he said in opening remarks at a meeting with senior aides. He even suggested that the gap between the allies was not large as both were focused on peace.

He added that any changes to the USA posture in the region will be made in consultation with the Japanese government - who are also under threat from North Korea.

The visit comes after a week in which North Korea's Kim Jong-Un and the USA leader exchanged threats.

Moon is expected to reiterate his point during a speech on Tuesday commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the end of the Japanese colonial rule from 1910-1945, known as Liberation Day.

The upcoming military exercises by the US and South Korea occur every year. The regime in Pyongyang always strongly objects to the drills, viewing them as a pretext for war.

The North's news agency, KCNA, warned on Monday that a conflict could be sparked with "a minor incident".

"If the USA goes reckless by wielding a nuclear stick before its rival armed with nukes despite the repeated warnings of the DPRK, it would precipitate its self-destruction", the agency said, using the abbreviation for North Korea's official name. This would be a deeply provocative act from the US perspective, and there has been widespread debate about whether Washington would try to shoot the missiles down if they're fired.

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