Between Old Foe and Aggressive Ally, No Honeymoon for South Korea's Moon

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"Whatever ups and downs we face, the North Korean nuclear situation must be resolved peacefully", South Korean President Moon Jae-in told a regular meeting with senior aides and advisers. "I'm confident that the U.S. will respond to the current situation in a rational and responsible manner, and with the same approach as us", Moon went on to say.

Moon says that his government shares a view with Washington that the objective of strong sanctions and pressure against North Korea is to draw Pyongyang to negotiations. "We will continue to do that and that's just not going to change", Neuert said at a press briefing in response to a question about North Korea's demand that the USA end military exercises on the peninsula.

SEOUL-When North Korea makes a threat, the government in Seoul usually vents its anger while South Koreans mostly shrug off what can seem like a daily barrage of hostility. Pyongyang, which claims the drills are war preparation, says it will be ready to send its Guam missile launch plan to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for approval just before or as the drills begin.

China repeated its calls Tuesday for the USA and South Korea to suspend the military exercises as a show of good faith to give diplomatic breathing room to restart the multilateral talks with North Korea that collapsed in 2008.

Dunford is visiting South Korea, Japan and China after a week in which Trump said he was ready to unleash "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to threaten the United States.

The top USA military officer says the United States wants to peacefully resolve a deepening standoff with North Korea but is also ready to use the "full range" of its military capabilities in case of provocation.

Both exercises, according to US Forces Korea, are created to "highlight the longstanding military partnership" between the two countries and improve stability and security on the Korean Peninsula.

Dunford earlier told reporters traveling with him to Asia that he aims to "sense what the temperature is in the region".

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Payne also showed her support for Washington's new policy on North Korea, the Strategic Accountability - a measure proposed by US State Secretary Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis seeking to pressure North Korea into the denuclearisation of the peninsula. "We are closely monitoring every move by the United States". He also said there had been no talks or discussion of a pre-emptive war, while adding that no one could predict what might occur if diplomatic and economic methods failed.

The White House scored a diplomatic victory last week when the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to impose new sanctions on North Korea in response to its latest ballistic missile tests.

More important, Kim's apparent decision not to fire a missile salvo toward Guam does not alleviate the larger USA concern: North Korea's surprising progress in developing a long-range missile powerful enough to reach California, although not yet with a nuclear warhead.

The commentary said that about 3.5 million young students and workers have volunteered to join or rejoin the army because of a possible confrontation with the United States.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying had earlier said that Beijing has made clear many times the essence of China-US trade and business ties is mutual benefit and that there is no future in any trade war between China and the United States.

North Korea has often threatened to attack the United States and its bases, and released similar photos in the past without following through. Kim said he will give order for the missile test if the United States continues its "extremely unsafe actions" on the Korean Peninsula.

Zhao said such a freeze could "have prevented North Korea from fast advancing their missile programs, especially from acquiring an ICBM capability so quickly".

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