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Top US Military Officer Warns North Korea That US Military Ready

Top US Military Officer Warns North Korea That US Military Ready”

Dunford agreed that the recent series of missile provocation by North Korea led to grave security situations on the peninsula, saying no change was made in the U.S. commitment to the defence of South Korea.

Dunford, who is also visiting Japan and China during his trip, earlier told reporters traveling with him that he is aiming to "sense what the temperature is in the region".

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in on Monday declared there must be no war on the Korean peninsula and called on the North to halt its threatening behaviour as tensions between Pyongyang and Washington heighten with both hinting at military action.

The key to stopping the ratcheting tension between North Korea and the USA could be North Korea's biggest ally, China, the top US general said Sunday.

Both men told reporters at the headquarters for Combined Forces Command that USA and South Korean officials will continue to examine the threats from North Korea and make adjustments to the force as they are needed and agreed upon.

The annual joint exercise dubbed Ulchi Freedom Guardian is slated to begin on August 21 and will involve a number of the 28,000 US troops based in the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea, as well as their counterparts in the South Korean military. "What I would like to see is Kim Jong Un to commit to ceasing the development of nuclear weapons and ceasing the testing of ballistic missiles", Dunford said.

He said the United States forces' priority was to support its government's diplomatic and economic pressure efforts for the denuclearised peninsula, noting that military options were being prepared for the failed efforts.

Moon, who assumed office this May, added he is "confident the US too will react calmly and responsibly to the ongoing situation". The top priority is the national interest of the Republic of Korea.

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The United States is adopting a policy of "strategic accountability" towards North Korea, the officials wrote, but it is not clear how this significantly differs from the "strategic patience" Korea policy of former President Barack Obama.

The BBC's John Sudworth in Beijing says China has in the past been accused by the worldwide community of not working hard enough at sanctions enforcement, so these actions by North Korea's biggest trading partner are significant. National security adviser H.R. McMaster said "we're not closer to war than a week ago".

In Washington, top administration officials appeared focused on trying to play down the prospect of nuclear war.

"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. On Friday, Trump said that if Kim makes any "overt threat" or strike at a USA territory or ally "he will truly regret it and he will regret it fast".

They reiterated that the U.S. is "willing to negotiate" with Pyongyang and has "no interest in regime change or accelerated reunification of Korea".

Any confrontation between the two will inevitably draw in South Korea, which faces thousands of North Korean troops and artillery guns across the heavily militarized border. There are 28,500 USA service members on the peninsula and that number fluctuates from time to time due to exercises and new capabilities.

The North's news agency, KCNA, warned on Monday that a conflict could be sparked with "a minor incident". "We are closely monitoring every move by the United States".

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