Joint Chiefs chair: Peaceful solution sought with NKorea, but US prepared for war

UPDATE — 2:25 p.m. EDT: South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a Tuesday speech that Seoul should be involved in any decision to use military force against bordering North Korea in retaliation for repeated threats to attack the U.S. 

“No one should be allowed to decide on a military action on the Korean Peninsula without South Korean agreement,” Moon announced.

Earlier Tuesday, North Korean state media said Pyongyang has abandoned plans to strike Guam with intercontinental ballistic missiles, but warned, “If the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the self-restraint of DPRK, [North Korea] will make an important decision as it already declared.” 

 

Days following North Korea’s repeated announcement it is close to finalizing plans to launch a missile attack on the U.S. territory of Guam and President Trump responding with fiery rhetoric, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, was quoted by the AP as saying the U.S. is readying a “full range” of military capabilities to meet Pyongyang’s provocations.

“(The U.S. is prepared) to use the full range of military capabilities to defend our allies and the U.S. homeland,” Dunford said. 

Dunford, who is in South Korea, made the remark during an hour-long meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.  Dunford also stressed a military option would be considered only after it was determined economic and diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis with North Korea had failed.

“We’re all looking to get out of this situation without a war,” he continued.

Dunford’s remarks came at the same time CIA Director Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Sunday no “imminent threat” of nuclear war exists between the U.S. and the rogue state at the moment.

Dunford’s and Pompeo’s words follow a seven-day period in which both President Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un traded barbs, some of which threatened to disrupt delicate backdoor negotiations with North Korea at the UN.

Monday’s developments also follow Chinese President Xi Jinping cautioning both sides to avoid language which could inflame tensions.  In a phone call with President Trump last week, Xi urged Trump to exercise restraint, but the two world leaders agreed the mutual goal was a non-nuclear Korean peninsula.

China also announced Monday it will abruptly ended the importation of North Korean coal, fish and iron ore.

 

[Reuters] [RT News] [Politico] [South China Morning Post] [New York Times] [Wall Street Journal] [Photo courtesy KCNA/AFP/Getty via ABC News]