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Senior South Korean diplomat says Trump threats sowing confusion

Senior South Korean diplomat says Trump threats sowing confusion

Dunford says he'll continue building the relationship he has with Gen. Fang Fenghui (FAHNG FENG-wuee), the head of the People's Liberation Army's joint staff department.

North Korea's state-run media today condemned the planned military drills and said the U.S. is "letting out unsafe war rhetoric".

At a separate meeting later in the day with Joseph Dunford, visiting chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Moon reaffirmed his stance.

Mr Moon sought to ease the tension, telling advisers at a meeting: "Our top priority is the national interest of [South Korea] and our national interest lies in peace".

"While diplomacy is our preferred means of changing North Korea's course of action, it is backed by military options", they said.

Trump will issue an order later on Monday to determine whether to investigate Chinese trade practices that force US firms operating in China to turn over intellectual property, senior administration officials said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, China has signalled it will halt iron, iron ore and seafood imports from North Korea starting on Tuesday, following the United Nations resolution on sanctions. China - North Korea's ally - also voted to impose the sanctions.

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"I think it is important as I go over there that the president has already outlined what the policy is, and one of the things he said is there has to be a credible military option in the event the diplomatic and economic campaign to denuclearize the peninsula fails", the general said.

Mr Moon told the visiting top United States military official that there must be a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Beijing is reluctant to put so much pressure on the regime that it risks collapse, in part to avoid a scenario that could lead to a unified Korea and push USA troops right up to China's border.

Financial markets regard tensions between Pyongyang and Washington as more serious than in the past, South Korea's finance minister said.

South Korea's leader, who took office on May 10 promising to pursue dialogue with North Korea, has remained largely mum as Trump made a series of bellicose statements last week starting with a threat to unleash "fire and fury" on the North. The US has about 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea. But not enough has been said about the South Korean military and its contributions, the general said.

Tuesday marks the anniversary of Japan's expulsion from the Korean peninsula, a rare holiday celebrated by both the North and the South. Moon and Kim, who has not been seen publicly for several days, are both expected to make addresses on their respective sides of the heavily militarised border. "We don't defend by ourselves and we don't defend ourselves".

"Peace will not come to the Korean Peninsula by force". "[Troops from both nations] tell me that they want to be ready. They may continue launching missile tests but they don't want a war, and the U.S. doesn't want military action either".

Mattis and Tillerson underlined that the United States aims "to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a dismantling of the regime's ballistic-missile programs".

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