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(2nd LD) Moon says U.S. will not take military option against N. Korea without his consent

2017/08/17 12:11

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(ATTN: UPDATES with more remarks, additional information, more background in paras 8-10)

SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday dismissed the possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula, saying the United States has agreed not to take any military action against North Korea without Seoul's consent.

"I say this with confidence that there will be no war on the Korean Peninsula ever again," the president said in a press conference marking his first 100 days in office.

"The United States and President Donald Trump too have agreed to discuss any options it may take with South Korea regardless of what kind of options it takes."

   Moon's remarks followed a heated war of words between Washington and Pyongyang.

The communist North had threatened to fire missiles toward the U.S.-controlled island of Guam. Trump said the North will be met by "fire and fury" should it continue to make threats against the United States, later adding his country's military options are now "locked and loaded."

   Moon insisted the U.S. leader's remarks had been aimed at increasing pressure on North Korea, instead of signaling an imminent military action against the reclusive state.

"The U.S. sought to put maximum pressure and sanctions through the latest U.N. Security Council resolution," the South Korean leader said. "At the same time, it is seeking unilateral measures, and I believe President Trump sought to pressure North Korea by showing a firm determination. I do not necessarily believe that showed his determination to take military options."

   The South Korean leader insisted the U.S. will also consult with Seoul on any military action it may take against North Korea outside the Korean Peninsula.

"Basically, the Republic of Korea is the one directly and mostly affected by North Korea's nuclear and missile issues. But it is also an issue between the North and the United States. Therefore, should North Korea continue to take provocative actions, or even take an aggressive action against the United States, the U.S. may take appropriate steps," Moon said.

"However, I am saying any military action to be taken on the Korean Peninsula requires South Korea's consent unless it is taken outside the peninsula. Also, even if the United States takes military action outside the peninsula, I am confident it will sufficiently consult with South Korea in advance if such action may increase tension between the South and the North," he added.

bdk@yna.co.kr

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