Dunford on North Korea: 'Get Out of This Situation Without a War'

Cheryl Sanders
August 16, 2017

Moon Jae-in, a liberal who favors engagement with the North, delivered a nationally televised speech Tuesday on the anniversary of the end of World War II and the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

North Korea's military has reacted angrily by stating its preparedness to "contain" the USA bases on the Pacific island of Guam with missile strikes.

Mattis added that he needs a "certain amount of ambiguity on this, because I'm not going to tell [Kim] what I'm going to do in each case". Tensions are at a fever pitch with Pyongyang most recently threatening to attack the USA territory of Guam.

North Korea says leader Kim Jong Un was briefed on his military's plans to launch missiles in waters near Guam days after the Korean People's Army announced its preparing to create "enveloping fire" near the us military hub in the Pacific. "Whatever it takes, the nuclear issues must be resolved peacefully".

"The military dimension today is directly in support of that diplomatic and economic effort" to push Pyongyang into slowing down and ending its nuclear and ballistic missile development efforts.

Mattis noted that he joined U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in authoring an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal on August 13 that repeated Tillerson's previous assurances to Kim that America has "no interest" in regime change in Pyongyang or an accelerated reunification of the two Koreas. Dunford, who began his tour of Asia with a visit to South Korea, also emphasized the need to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue through diplomatic and peaceful means.

Moon earlier ruled out the possibility of a United States military action, saying no such move may take place without Seoul's consent.

General Joseph Dunford, US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, met South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-Moo on Monday.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday there would be no military action without Seoul's consent and his government would do anything to prevent war.

He said that Dunford "conveyed America's readiness to use the full range of military capabilities to defend our allies and the USA homeland".

As Dunford visited South Korea, two senior Trump administration officials spoke on Sunday talks shows, during which both denied that war with North Korea was imminent. "Nobody's looking for war", the marine general said. "There will be no war again on the Korean peninsula".

The U.N. came to a unanimous vote to ban critical exports from the Communist nation, after North Korea conducted two more missile tests, in July 2017. The 1950-53 conflict cost more than 1 million lives and perpetuated the division of the peninsula.

"But, make no mistake about it, the continuation, the increased chance that there will be a nuclear missile in Denver is a very serious threat", he added, commenting that he is "quite confident" North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un will continue to advance his weapons programs.

Mr Trump had declared the United States military "locked and loaded" and said he was ready to unleash "fire and fury" if North Korea continues to threaten America. Subsequently, the U.N. Security Council imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea, angering the North.

China is North Korea's main economic partner and political backer, although relations between Beijing and Pyongyang have deteriorated amid the North's continuing defiance of China's calls for restraint.

It does not look like North Korea is backing down from a showdown with the U.S., or from the economic sanctions ordered by the United Nations Security Council which would reduce the North's export revenues by $1 billion.

President Donald Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, tells ABC's "This Week" that "we're not closer to war than a week ago, but we are closer to war than we were a decade ago".

Pompeo said the rhetoric from Trump was geared at sending a message to North Korea and letting the isolated nation know that the U.S. policy of "strategic patience" had come to an end.

Other reports by iNewsToday