Korea's Moon: There will be no war on Korean peninsula

Elias Hubbard
August 22, 2017

As tensions escalate, South Korean President Moon Jae-in promised his citizens last week there "will be no war on the Korean Peninsula ever again".

However, they do not appear to have been made with the intention to take military action, Moon said at a news conference to mark his first 100 days in office.

"In the event of a missile launch towards the territory of Japan, Guam, the United States, Korea (South Korea), we would take immediate specific actions to take it down", Mattis said.

North Korea this week has detailed its plan to test-launch ballistic missiles into waters near the U.S. Pacific territory.

President Moon assured that his government "will block war by all means" and said that only South Korea could give consent to initiate any conflict with the North. "However we should not be impatient about it".

North Korea has been under United Nations sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs and the Security Council has ratcheted up the measures in response to five nuclear weapons tests and four long-range missile launches. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, said Wednesday the U.S. wants to peacefully resolve tensions with North Korea, but is also ready to use the "full range" of its military capabilities. Many of those taking part said they were anxious. There will be approximately 17,500 total US service members participating, with approximately 3,000 coming from off-peninsula.

Some experts say North Korea is mainly focused on the bigger picture of testing its bargaining power against the United States with its new long-range missiles and likely has no interest in letting things get too tense during the drills. China, North Korea's main ally and trading partner, called for the suspension of the annual exercises in exchange for Pyongyang halting its nuclear programme.

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Korea's Moon: There will be no war on Korean peninsula

"There is a potential for serious differences between Washington and Seoul", said Alexander Vershbow, who was USA ambassador to Seoul from 2005-2008.

"South Korea, after the last ICBM tests by North Korea, really began to fast track the THAAD deployment, which they've been kind of holding up with this kind of environmental survey", he said.

The secretary-general warned that tensions on the Korean peninsula are at their highest level in decades and said it's important now "to dial down the rhetoric and to dial up diplomacy".

Called Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), the joint drills have their roots in a 1968 raid on South Korea's Blue House presidential complex, when Unit 124 of the North Korean army secretly entered South Korea and unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate the then president, Park Chung-hee.

Guterres spoke by telephone with Deputy Ambassador Kim In Ryong on Tuesday, the North Korean mission to the United Nations said in a statement on Thursday. "I read those", Tillerson said in response to a question about thinking inside the administration about how to deal with North Korea.

The Aug.21 to Aug.31 exercises involve computer simulations created to prepare for the unthinkable: war with nuclear-capable North Korea.

The flight path of the North Korean missile test would cross that part of the country. Beijing fears that a collapse of North Korea's economy could cause a flood of refugees to cross the border.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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