Dunford says USA military options only if sanctions fail: South Korea

18 August, 2017, 00:19 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • President Moon Jae-in receives welcome flowers from his new neighbors who live near the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul

Meanwhile, China announced on Monday it was going enforce the latest United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang this week, banning the imports of resources and seafood from North Korea.

Speaking on the Fox News Sunday program on August 13, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said that "there's nothing imminent today" but that it was important to make clear to North Korea that us patience has worn out.

"Military action on the Korean Peninsula can only be decided by the Republic of Korea and no one may decide to take military action without the consent of the Republic of Korea", Moon said, sending an apparent message towards its main ally the United States and to a lesser extent North Korea.

"But North Korea sees the South as powerless and won't negotiate with us".

Beijing had pledged to fully enforce the latest sanctions after the United States accused China of not doing enough to rein in its neighbour, which relies heavily on the Asian giant for its economic survival. "Down the road, I expect there will be a compromise and dialogue".

The president stressed that the South Korea-US alliance was based on "defending peace", adding that both countries agree that the North Korean nuclear and missile issues should be resolved peacefully under all circumstances.

"I am confident that the USA will respond to the current situation in a calm and responsible manner in line with our policy direction", Moon said.

But there seems little likelihood of dialogue at this point.

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Such communications are especially crucial now, officials said, "as the region and world are facing the dangers of a nuclear-armed North Korea". But within days, Trump warned Pyongyang would meet fire and fury if it threatened the United States.

"Nobody can decide to take military action without our consent", Moon said in a speech marking the 72nd anniversary of the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonial rule. He also holds a news conference on Thursday to mark his 100th day in office.

Dunford's visit follows an exchange of threats over the weekend between President Trump and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.

North Korea tested intercontinental ballistic missiles twice last month and said last week it is "seriously examining" a plan to fire four intermediate-range missiles into waters near the American territory of Guam. The Seoul metropolitan area is home to 25 million people.

Such a move would lead to an arms race in Asia and weaken worldwide efforts against North Korea's nuclear programme, Lee told broadcaster YTN News on Wednesday.

He filled his national security team with several key players of that time, naming them to the posts of prime minister, spy chief and unification minister.

The U.S. and South Korea are slated to begin their annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian joint military exercises August 21, which could add fuel to the fire.

Faced with this aggressiveness, and Kim's refusal to talk to the South, Seoul has few options, analysts said. "We don't feel they've reached that point yet but it's true they are approaching it".

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