But the USA and South Korea are set to begin their annual 10-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint exercises on Monday, involving tens of thousands of troops, which the North has long slammed as a rehearsal for invasion.
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 USA mainland.
The dispute has also raised fears in South Korea, where a conservative political party on Wednesday called for the United States to bring back tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea this week has detailed its plan to test-launch ballistic missiles into waters near the U.S. Pacific territory. North Korean officials in turn have accused the U.S. leader of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war. He urged the North to halt its efforts to develop a nuclear-tipped weapon that could reach the US mainland.
Song is scheduled to visit Washington on August 30th for his first formal talks with Mattis.
Moon, who was elected in May, said: "A dialogue between South and North Korea must resume".
President Donald Trump made a warning to the North regarding its threats on Guam.
President Moon Jae-in vowed to prevent war at all costs in a speech on Tuesday marking the anniversary of the end of Japanese occupation in 1945.
The North Korean military said it could carry out a preemptive strike if there were signs of an American provocation.
Military Action on Korean Peninsula Impossible Without S. Korea Consent
"South Korea is an ally and everything we do in the region is in the context of our alliance", Dunford told reporters traveling with him on a trip that has taken him to Seoul and then to Beijing, where he met with President Xi Jinping on Thursday.
He also issued a warning to North Korea to "stop all provocations and hostile rhetoric immediately", adding: 'We can not have a war on the Korean peninsula ever again'. I've seen no intelligence that would indicate that we're in that place today, ' he said.
North Korea said Tuesday that leader Kim Jong Un was briefed on his military's plans to launch missiles into waters near Guam as part of an effort to create "enveloping fire" near the USA military hub in the Pacific.
"Kim Jong Un of North Korea made a very wise and well reasoned decision".
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". -South Korean military exercises that enrage the North each year make it unclear, however, if diplomacy will prevail.
"If North Korea launches another provocation, it will face even stronger sanctions and it will not be able to survive them".
United States vice president Mike Pence told reporters in Chile on Wednesday that "all options" remained on the table with regards to North Korea, and he called on Latin American nations to break ties with Pyongyang.
Even though next week's exercises are more simulated and present a lesser threat than Foal Eagle Key Resolve, "from the North Korean, perspective, (they are) still a major military provocation", said Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing.