Joe Dunford is traveling in Asia and involved in high-level discussions centered on the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, but he took time to address the recent tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Many say the solution to the crisis may rest with China, North Korea's biggest trading partner.
Gen. Dunford is in South Korea as part of a diplomatic visit to the peninsula and China in an attempt to ease tensions caused by North Korea's continued provocations.
The top US general said President Donald Trump has asked military leaders to develop credible, viable military options.
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"What's unimaginable to me is not a military option", Dunford told reporters before a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. No major mobilization is underway, and there are no plans to evacuate American citizens living in vulnerable South Korea.
Speaking to the media on Thursday (17 August), Dunford said the main objective of his visit to China was to set up better and secure communication channels between the military chiefs of both the countries to quickly respond to any crisis in the region.
"General Dunford delivered a clear message that North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs threaten the entire global community, including China, Russia, the USA and our allies", said United States military spokesman Capt Darryn James in a statement. "The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!" China's ongoing fortification efforts on the border with North Korea illustrate just how seriously Beijing views the ongoing crisis.
America's top military official reiterated today his country's pledge to defend Japan against a North Korean missile attack, as western Japan carried out a test of an emergency alert system.
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Asked if the US will go to war with North Korea , the president responded, "I think you know the answer to that". North Korea has fired 18 missiles during 12 tests since February, improving its technology with each launch.
The annual joint drills, which involve tens of thousands of United States and South Korean troops, have been deemed a preparation for war by North Korea.
Moreover, following a slew of missile tests, there's a very high chance that North Korea's ballistic missile are capable of accurately reaching Japanese population centers.
China and the United States, the world's two largest economies, have said they are committed to having a stable military-to-military relationship, but there are deep faultlines. Earlier India has criticised North Korea's nuclear tests and has condemned its ties with Pakistan and its support for the Kashmir conflict.
The missile plans were previously announced. Kim said North Korea would conduct the launches if the "Yankees persist in their extremely unsafe reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity", warning the United States to "think reasonably and judge properly" to avoid shaming itself, KCNA reported. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said after Kim postponed the threat that Washington remains ready for talks. We're allowed to do it [the military excercises]. A miscalculation on either side could lead to military confrontation. Kim said North Korea would conduct the launches if the "Yankees persist in their extremely risky reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity", and that the United States should "think reasonably and judge properly" to avoid shaming itself, the news agency said.
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Tensions on the Korean peninsula appear, however, to have de-escalated this week, with Trump on Wednesday saying Kim Jong Un had made a "wise and well-reasoned decision" to postpone an alleged plan to strike the US territory of Guam.
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