South Korean President Moon Jae-in has referred to as on his US allies to assist stop a struggle, amid worsening stress over the North’s nuclear risk.
Mr Moon instructed the visiting prime US army official that there have to be a diplomatic answer to the disaster.
Gen Joseph Dunford mentioned the US precedence was diplomacy however added that army choices have been being ready ought to sanctions in opposition to the North fail.
The North on Monday mentioned any struggle may “solely be was a nuclear struggle”.
Additionally on Monday, China’s commerce ministry issued an order banning a slew of imports from North Korea, according to extra UN sanctions that have been introduced earlier this month.
The sanctions have been launched in response to a wave of missile exams and elevated army rhetoric from North Korea.
The newest exams led US President Donald Trump to warn of “fireplace and fury just like the world has by no means seen”.
He mentioned the US was “locked and loaded” after the North threatened to focus on the US territory of Guam with missile exams. The US has 28,500 troops in South Korea.
Mr Moon sought to ease the stress, telling advisers at a gathering: “Our prime precedence is the nationwide curiosity of [South Korea] and our nationwide curiosity lies in peace.
“I’m assured that the US will reply to the present state of affairs in a peaceful and accountable method according to our coverage route.”
He mentioned the 1950-53 Korean struggle had “value greater than one million lives, left cities in ruins and perpetuated the division of the peninsula”.
Mr Moon additionally urged the North to “cease all provocations and hostile rhetoric instantly, as an alternative of worsening the state of affairs any additional”.
Gen Dunford, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Employees, instructed Mr Moon that the US precedence was supporting diplomatic and financial sanctions in opposition to the North, South Korea’s presidential workplace mentioned.
However army choices are being ready.
Gen Dunford mentioned as he arrived in Seoul: “As a army chief, I’ve to make it possible for the president does have viable army choices within the occasion that the diplomatic and financial pressurisation marketing campaign fails.”
He’ll later journey to China and Japan.
The North’s information company, KCNA, warned on Monday battle could possibly be sparked with “a minor incident”.
It mentioned: “The issue is that if the struggle happens, it could solely be was a nuclear struggle.”
It added: “We’re watching each single factor in the US.”
On Sunday, US Nationwide Safety Adviser HR McMaster mentioned he didn’t suppose the edges have been nearer to struggle than every week in the past, whereas CIA Director Mike Pompeo said he noticed no intelligence to recommend the edges have been on the cusp of a nuclear struggle.
In the meantime, China has signalled it is going to halt iron, iron ore and seafood imports from North Korea beginning on Tuesday, following the UN decision on sanctions.
Evaluation: Totally different this time?
John Sudworth, BBC Beijing correspondent
China’s announcement right this moment formally incorporates the brand new harder sanctions into its customs rules.
However then it has signed as much as the earlier rounds of sanctions, solely to be seen to tug its ft.
The large query is whether or not it may be any totally different this time.
There are indicators that the a lot harder line coming from Washington is having some impact on Beijing. It has already stopped imports of North Korean coal and the full worth of all imports is down in contrast with this time final yr.
However China has mentioned all alongside that sanctions are for focusing on North Korea’s weapons programmes, not choking off the broader financial system. Complete commerce, making an allowance for each imports and exports, has grown this yr in contrast with final.
What are the brand new sanctions?
- Importing coal, seafood, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore from North Korea is banned
- International locations can’t obtain new North Korean staff
- No new joint ventures with North Korean entities or people
- No new funding in present joint ventures
- Extra people focused with journey bans and belongings freezes
- Member states to report back to the UN Safety Council inside 90 days on how they’ve applied decision