Military Action on Korean Peninsula Impossible Without S. Korea Consent

Dunford to Visit China, South Korea

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

Moon said in a speech that the divided peninsula was the evil-starred legacy of the colonial era, emphasizing that peace is the calling of the age for the peninsula.

Emphasizing Seoul is the one that is most directly affected by North Korea's nuclear and missile issues, President Moon sternly said any sort of military action requires South Korea's consent, and underscored that another war on the peninsula is absolutely out of the question.

President Donald Trump says in a tweet that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "made a very wise and reasonable decision" amid indications his country has decided not to proceed with its multiple missile launch toward Guam.

"What matters is that if a second conflict (on the peninsula) erupts, that can not help but lead to a nuclear war", the North's official Korean Central News Agency said in a commentary.

The peninsula was colonized by the Imperial Japan from 1910 to 1945.

The United States - which backed Seoul in the war against the Chinese and Soviet-backed North - maintains about 28,500 servicemembers in South Korea.

Dunford said Thursday that a peaceful resolution to North Korea tensions was still preferred, but that nobody thinks economic pressure will be enough to force Pyongyang to back down.

Fan Changlong, a vice chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission, told his American counterpart that military means should not be an option in solving the Korean Peninsula issues.

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"The people worked together to rebuild the country from the Korean War, and we can not lose everything again because of a war", Mr Moon said in a nationally televised news conference.

Any new military conflict with North Korea would likely escalate quickly to the use of nuclear weapons, bringing catastrophic casualties and an untold economic impact worldwide, former USA defence officials and experts believe. He was due to leave South Korea later on Monday and will make stops in China and Japan this week.

During his nationally televised address, President Moon said North Korea's development of nuclear weapons technology was "nearing" a red line, which he described as "completing an ICBM and weaponizing it with a nuclear head".

Pyongyang says it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself from possible invasion by its "imperialist enemy" the USA and has long sought to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

Trump has urged China, the North's main ally and trading partner, to do more to rein in its neighbour, often linking Beijing's efforts to comments around U.S. President Moon even said he'll consider sending a special envoy to North Korea if the North stops provocations.

US vows "immediate and specific action" to intercept missiles if North Korean fires at allies, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said.

North Korea and the United States exchanged threats of military action last week, with Pyongyang saying it will develop a plan to strike the US Pacific territory of Guam, Reuters reported.

Dialling back military exercises was not now on the negotiating table with North Korea, Dunford said.

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