South Korean President Moon Jae-in ruled out a military option to resolve the standoff with the North, at a press conference on Thursday. The latest sanctions on the North are meant to prevent a war, Moon said, explaining that they are intended to force the North to negotiate.
How can South Koreans still oppose a USA missile-defense system even though the North shows rapid progress in its nuclear weapons program? Actually, he is attempting to pursue an independent course that's likely to alter South Korea's relationship with the United States even as President Donald Trump vows to heap "fire and fury" on the North in retaliation for the North's threats to fire missiles on USA targets, most recently the strategic territory of Guam. But he added that the military's job was to provide "viable military options in the event that deterrence fails". He said both sides should rein it in, a rare rebuke from South Korea of its protector, the U.S. Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon and Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol are meeting as we speak, to discuss ways to stabilize the country's financial market amid the continued fallout from North Korea's recent missile launches.
He also reiterated the USA position that China-the source of 75 percent of North Korea's trade-has the power to compel North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to abandon his nuclear ambitions.
Unlike Moon, President Trump has repeatedly refused to define what level of provocation from North Korea he considers a "red line" to activate the military solutions that, as he tweeted to the world last week, were "locked and loaded."
The issue of compensation to former requisitioned workers was settled under the Japan-South Korea agreement on property and claims of 1965.
"The reaction in North Korea that we are intending to get is an is an understanding that America is no longer going to have the strategic patience that it's had that has permitted [Kim] to continue to develop his weapons program", Pompeo said.
Mr Trump last week warned North Korea it would face "fire and fury" if it tried to attack the United States or its allies. Similarly, at the just-concluded ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho asserted that the North would not participate in negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs unless the United States abandons its "hostile" policy.
On Sunday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump's national security adviser, tried to provide assurances that a conflict is avoidable, while also supporting Trump's tough talk.
"I would define the red line as completing the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile and being able to weaponized it with a nuclear warhead", Moon said.
China, North Korea's main ally and trading partner, has urged the United States and South Korea to scrap the drills in exchange for North Korea calling a halt to its weapons programs.
"Even if the USA military action takes place outside the peninsula, I am confident that the US will consult with South Korea in advance", he said, repeating his warning during the August 15 Liberation Day address that no countries should take military action on North Korea without South Korea's approval. "I would like to warn North Korea to end its unsafe gamble", he added. Trump also said the USA was considering tighter sanctions against North Korea. "There is confusion", the South Korean ambassador said.