S. Korea to US: Not so fast

Stating that his government “will put everything on the line to prevent another war in the Korean Peninsula,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that the U.S. would need South Korea’s approval before taking any military action.

Moon, a liberal who favors diplomatic engagement with North Korea, said in a nationally televised address on Tuesday that the confrontation over North Korea’s nuclear program must “absolutely be solved peacefully.”

During his election campaign this year and in a speech in Berlin last month, the South Korean president advocated working toward a peace treaty with Pyongyang.

In 2016, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he supported dialogue to ease tensions in the region, but he continues to launch missile tests, adding stress to the already volatile diplomatic relations between North Korea, its neighbors, and the West.

South Korea also proposed conducting Red Cross talks on Aug. 1 to address the possibility of resuming reunions of the families separated since the demarcation line was drawn in 1953. The reunions would take place during the Chuseok harvest festival holiday in early October. In October 2015, a similar event was held. However, there has been no development on that prospect.

When he first became president, Moon suspended the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system known as THAAD.

However, he later changed course after North Korea launched a series of short-range ballistic missiles which splashed down into the East Sea/Sea of Japan. The U.S. and South Korea are now moving forward with deploying THAAD on the Korean Peninsula.

After US Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that if North Korea fired on US territory, it would be “game on,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un backed off on his threat to fire missiles at the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam on Tuesday. But he warned that he could still change his mind while he waits to see what the “foolish Yankees” do next.

Mattis stated, “If they fire at the United States, it could escalate into war very quickly.”

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