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Korea, US Reaffirm Solid Joint Defense Posture

20 August 2017

The tentative interest in diplomacy follows unusually combative threats between President Donald Trump and North Korea amid worries that Pyongyang is nearing its long-sought goal of accurately being able to send a nuclear missile to the US mainland.

Moon also insisted that "any military action to be taken on the Korean Peninsula requires South Korea's consent unless it is taken outside the peninsula".

During his nationally televised address, President Moon said North Korea's development of nuclear weapons technology was "nearing" a red line, which he described as "completing an ICBM and weaponizing it with a nuclear head". But his efforts have been met with a string of threats and missile tests as the North works to build nuclear-armed missiles that can reach the USA mainland. North Korean officials in turn have accused the United States leader of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war.

Lee, who also spoke before the meeting which was arranged to discuss the economic impact from the risks posed by North Korea, said there was no need for serious concern because South Korea's economic fundamentals were strong.

In the past, North Korea has fired missiles and taken other steps in response to the war games.

This comes after North Korea carried out two tests in July, amid rising tensions between the two nations.

In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, in flight during a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, flying in the vicinity of Kyushu, Japan, the East China Sea, and the Korean peninsula, August 7, 2017 (HST).

North Korea said Tuesday that its military presented leader Kim Jong Un with plans to launch intermediate-range missiles into waters near Guam and "wring the windpipes of the Yankees" by creating "enveloping fire" near the key USA military hub in the Pacific.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Wednesday "we can't support ideas by some of our partners to suffocate North Korea economically with all the negative and tragic humanitarian consequences for its citizens".

His comments are made in an effort to calm fears amid the North's recent warnings that it will launch missiles into the waters surrounding the U.S. territory of Guam.

"The government, putting everything on the line, will block war by all means", Moon said.

Kim's comments, however, with their conditional tone, seemed to hold out the possibility that friction could ease if the United States made some sort of gesture that Pyongyang considered a move to back away from previous "extremely risky reckless actions".

The comments came as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visits China amid rising tensions over the North's nuclear weapons progress.

"I think (Trump) is thinking that this won't result in any deaths back home, and if a war happens it will be far from home", Aoki said.

North Korea has since indicated it has pulled back from ordering a strike, something Mr Trump said was "very wise".