The highest-ranking US military officer again warned that the Trump administration stands ready to attack North Korea, despite pleas for peace from South Korea.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Joseph Dunford on Monday said that the Pentagon is prepared "to use the full range of military capabilities to defend our allies and the US homeland." Dunford made the comments in Seoul while meeting with South Korean civilian and military officials.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday urged the sabre-rattling to stop, declaring "there must not be another war on the Korean Peninsula."
President Moon also vowed to work with the US "to safeguard peace," according to the AP, and told Pyongyang to "stop issuing menacing statements and provoking."
"Whatever ups and downs we face, the North Korean nuclear situation must be resolved peacefully," Moon also stated.
Top ranking US officials have been claiming that President Trump is intent on avoiding war, and that he has issued threats to back-up diplomatic efforts.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis wrote an op-ed, published on Sunday by The Wall Street Journal, saying that "diplomacy is our preferred means of changing North Korea’s course of action."
Dunford claimed on Monday that the US is "seeking a peaceful resolution to the crisis."
The crisis comes in the wake of North Korean missile tests, UN sanctions, and a Washington Post report about the US intelligence community's assessment of North Korean capabilities.
The paper said Tuesday that American intelligence officials believe Pyongyang "has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles," and that it "is also outpacing expectations in its effort to build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the American mainland."
President Trump responded to the Post report by vowing that North Korea "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
North Korean officials then threatened to launch four missiles into the sea off the coast of Guam.
Trump replied with another aggressive claim on Friday, tweeting that: "Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should [sic] North Korea act unwisely."
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