Korea, US military chiefs to meet amid NK missile threats

Top US general to meet South Korean leader amid tensions (VIDEO)
Top US General Arrives on Korean Peninsula for Talks on North Korea Threat
Author

15 August, 2017

North Korea has snubbed offers for talks from President Moon Jae-in, the South's first liberal leader in a decade.

The top USA general will meet with South Korea's president on Monday, days after President Donald Trump warned the US military was "locked and loaded" in the latest salvo of his war of words with the North.

The North accused the United States of mobilizing a huge number of weapons and troops for annual military drills with South Korea that begin later this month. In a call with Trump on Saturday in Asia, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all sides to maintain restraint and avoid inflammatory comments.

Mr Moon also urged the North to "stop all provocations and hostile rhetoric immediately, instead of worsening the situation any further".

The three-country visit is in "support (of) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's diplomatic and economic campaign to deter North Korea" from seeking an effective nuclear deterrent, according to the US Department of Defence. Lee Sun-jin. "The message today was the ironclad commitment to the alliance", Dunford said at the press conference.

"So unless those North Korean missiles were to fall short, the Patriots shouldn't have a function to serve in this particular case", he said.

Since then the North and Trump have locked horns in fiery exchanges, with Trump saying on Friday that U.S. troops were "locked and loaded" in case a military solution became necessary.

"I am confident that the U.S. 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. "There must not be a war on the Korean Peninsula ever again", Moon said.

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The sharp rise in tensions is expected to dominate a speech by Moon on Tuesday to commemorate the 72th anniversary of liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

Both Russia and China have previously denounced North Korea's missile launches, but have also called on the U.S. to halt military drills in the region.

CNN said the looming threat of a North Korean missile strike on the USA territory of Guam, and Pyongyang's increasing nuclear capabilities, have exacerbated tensions in the region.

Referring to Kim Jong Un, Trump said: "If he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that's an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it, and he will regret it fast". The Seoul metropolitan area is home to 25 million people. He said on Thursday that the U.S. works closely with its allies to ensure that any military response wouldn't be unilateral, warning that the impact of a conflict "would be catastrophic".

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 chairman said the men shared some thoughts about the common challenges facing their nations, but focused mostly on North Korea. "So I hear the voices not just of the Americans who are here, but the voices of the South Koreans", he said.

The launches demonstrated a major advance in the North's efforts to develop a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the US mainland.

Faced with this aggressiveness, and Kim's refusal to talk to the South, Seoul has few options, analysts said.

On this point, he noted that South Korea and the United States were on the same page though security situations got significantly grave on the peninsula and in its surrounding regions.


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