nsucurrent.com February 22, 2018

Top US Military Officer Warns North Korea That US Military Ready

15 August 2017, 12:30 | Colleen Roy

Top US Military Officer Warns North Korea That US Military Ready

US has 'no interest' in North Korea regime change: Mattis, Tillerson

North Korean ballistic missile tests followed by threats to the strategic US territory Guam has led to reassurances from military officials that they are capable of combating any North Korean action.

Joe Dunford will visit South Korea, China and Japan.

President Moon Jae-in (right) shakes hands with Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, before their meeting at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Monday.

North Korea, in turn, has said it planned to finalize a plan to fire four missiles into the waters near the USA territory of Guam, home to two major US military bases, sometime this week and hand it over to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a decision.

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.

The war of words between Mr Trump and North Korea prompted world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, to urge restraint on both sides.

"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 (KCNA) said in a commentary.

According to the President's spokesman, Gen Dunford said at the meeting that the U.S. would consider military action against North Korea only if all diplomatic and economic sanctions failed.

"I am confident the United States too will react calmly and responsibly to the ongoing situation under the same basic stance as ours", he said.

The former Park Geun-hye administration renewed the decades-old debate when it referred to the 1948 establishment of the government as the date of national foundation, instead of the 1919 establishment of the Provisional Government of Korea in Shanghai.

Trump has sought to pressure China to do more by linking action on North Korea to better trade terms.

North Korea's state-run media today condemned the planned military drills and said the USA is "letting out risky war rhetoric".

"While diplomacy is our preferred means of changing North Korea's course of action, it is backed by military options", they said.

North Korea test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile twice in July, lofting the Hwasong-14 as high as over 3,700 km and flying it as far as about 1,000 km in the latest test-launch.

The United States and South Korea remain technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty. "Even if peace and negotiations require pain and patience, we must do so". The US has about 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea.

"I've seen no intelligence that would indicate that we're in that place today", Pompeo told "Fox News Sunday".

The North's news agency, KCNA, warned on Monday that a conflict could be sparked with "a minor incident".

The North on Monday said any war could "only be turned into a nuclear war".

It added: "We are watching every single thing in the United States".

"We came up with those steps with an aim to build a nation that pays its due respect" to national heroes, he told the meeting, according to the Blue House.

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