Between old foe and aggressive ally, no honeymoon for South Korea's Moon

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman to arrive in Seoul on Sunday for talks with local counterparts, president on N. Korea

Dunford last month said that while a war with North Korea would involve "a loss of life unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes", it was "not unimaginable".

"I am certain the United States will respond to the current situation calmly and responsibly in a stance that is equal to ours", he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a conciliatory message to North Korea in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

They reiterated that the USA is "willing to negotiate" with Pyongyang and has "no interest in regime change or accelerated reunification of Korea". According to the Blue House, General Dunford emphasized that the mission of USA forces is to support Washington's efforts to diplomatically and economically pressure Pyongyang to denuclearize and that the "military option" is just in case those efforts fail. As Trump tweeted last week: "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely".

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

"While diplomacy is our preferred means of changing North Korea's course of action, it is backed by military options", they said. "What we would do in the event of an attack on Guam - or missiles being launched towards Guam - is a decision that will ... be made by the president of the United States and he will make that in the context of our alliance", the chairman said.

World stocks rose along with U.S. Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar as investors regained an appetite for riskier investments amid an easing of Korea tensions.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford arrived at the Osan Air Base, and is scheduled to meet with the leaders of US Forces Korea and South Korea President Moon Jae-in, reports CNN.

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

On this point, he noted that South Korea and the United States were on the same page though security situations got significantly grave on the peninsula and in its surrounding regions.

The tests are seen as a milestone in the North's quest to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

"The problem is that Kim Jong Un is nothing like his father", said Nam Seong-wook, professor of North Korea Studies at Korea University in Seoul.

"Any second Korean War would have no choice but to spread into a nuclear war", it said in a commentary.

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.

Moon's administration has pushed to start talks with North Korea even while looking to strengthen its defenses after North Korea test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

Meanwhile, US-South Korean joint military exercises are due to begin later this month.

"We don't want to harm anyone in North Korea and we don't want harm to come to us or everywhere else in the world and it is time that our leaders think about peace and think about ways to promote peace", another resident said. -China trade. China strenuously rejects linking the two issues. He has made clear to allies and rivals alike that the United States is willing, to use the phrase of Cold War nuclear strategists, to "think the unthinkable"-that is, plan for and launch a nuclear war".

Japan is also conducting joint military exercises with the USA in the next few weeks. China announced today that it would implement an import ban tomorrow on North Korean iron ore, lead and coal as part of the sanctions.

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