U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, on Monday stressed the need to peacefully solve the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and said everyone wished to end it without a war, during his talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul, reported Yonhap News Agency.
Dunfords visit to South Korea came amid rising tensions on the peninsula and belligerent rhetoric exchanges between Washington and Pyongyang, and the latters latest warning was to test-fire its missiles towards the U.S. Pacific island of Guam.
The top U.S. military official said the U.S. will continue to support South Koreas efforts to resolve the issues of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) through diplomatic and economic means, and military options will come only after all others fail, Yonhap reported citing Moons spokesperson Park Soo-hyun.
Dunford added the U.S. will continue to discuss all its measures, including military options, with Seoul, Park said at a press briefing.
The U.S. general also reaffirmed Washingtons commitment to helping defend Seoul under their alliance, while stressing the importance of a peaceful resolution of the current situation on the peninsula.
President Moon, for his part, said the DPRK was disturbing peace on the Korean Peninsula, in the region, as well as the global order, by continuing with its test launches of missiles with an intercontinental range.
The president noted the current security conditions on the Korean Peninsula constituted a more serious, real and urgent threat than ever created by the advancement in North Koreas nuclear and missile technologies, Park added.
Earlier in the day, President Moon, who previously advocated dialogue with the DPRK, called for calm and peace amid growing tensions, saying there should never be another war on the peninsula, during a regular meeting with senior aids and advisers.
We cannot have a war on the Korean Peninsula ever again, he said. The 1950-1953 conflict between Seoul and Pyongyang cost more than a million lives, left cities in ruins and the division of the peninsula.
I am confident that the U.S. will respond to the current situation in a calm and responsible manner in line with our policy direction, Moon said.
The recent war of words between the U.S. and the DPRK has aroused global alarm, with world leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping urging calm on both sides.
Xi called for restraint regarding the nuclear issue on the peninsula and said the parties concerned should strive to resolve the issue through dialogue and negotiation to reach a political solution, in a phone conversation with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Dunford also met with South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-moo. After the trip in Seoul, he will head to China for a three-day official visit to hold talks with Chinese military officials on issues concerning Korean Peninsulas situation.