Top US military official arrives South Korea amid North Korea tension

Aug 15, 2017, 00:28
Top US military official arrives South Korea amid North Korea tension

North Korea, meanwhile, has threatened to lob four intermediate-range missiles into the waters near the USA territory of Guam.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford arrived at the Osan Air Base, and is scheduled to meet with the leaders of US Forces Korea and South Korea President Moon Jae-in, reports CNN. And U.S. President Donald Trump has alarmed Seoul with his warnings that the United States will unleash "fire and fury" if threatened by North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Dunford's Asia visit comes as fears grow that a war of words between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will lead to a miscalculation that sparks an actual military conflict.

But he stressed that the U.S.is pursuing "a very determined diplomatic effort" led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that's coupled with new financial sanctions to dissuade North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from further provocations.

"The military dimension today is directly in support of that diplomatic and economic effort", Gen. Dunford told reporters in Seoul.

"We do not expect that the president of the United States would make that kind of statement", he said.

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"By trying to incriminate Beijing as an accomplice in (North Korea's) nuclear adventure and blame it for a failure that is essentially a failure of all stakeholders, Trump risks making the serious mistake of splitting up the worldwide coalition that is the means to resolve the issue peacefully", it said.

Also on Monday, China's commerce ministry issued an order banning a slew of imports from North Korea, in line with additional United Nations sanctions that were announced earlier this month. Today, Deputy Unification Minister Chun Haesung said South Korea was seeking to ease tensions and the door for dialogue with North Korea was still open.

During talks with Dunford, Moon reiterated that he wants cooperation with North Korea, but added that security conditions on the peninsula constitute "a more serious, real and urgent threat than ever created by the advancement in North Korea's nuclear and missile technologies".

"Peace will not come to the Korean Peninsula by force".

Mr Moon urged North Korea to "stop all provocations and hostile rhetoric immediately".

The South Korean leader also sought to assure his own people amid growing concerns of an armed conflict here.

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"I really don't see a unified message", Moon said.

The meeting came the day before the anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II, a day known as "Liberation Day" in both North and South Korea because it brought about the end of Japanese colonization.

The Korean Central News Agency kept up its tough talk Monday. "We are closely monitoring every move by the United States".

"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.

On Sunday, US National Security Adviser HR McMaster said he did not think the sides were closer to war than a week ago, while CIA Director Mike Pompeo said he saw no intelligence to suggest the sides were on the cusp of a nuclear war.

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