Korea, US defense ministers agree to closely coordinate against NK threats

Korea tensions ease slightly as US officials play down war risks

This sends a strong message to North Korea, which is now working to build a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States mainland.

"There is no military solution for this conflict, it must be worked out via negotiations", Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a YouTube interview, criticizing what she called escalating rhetoric by "all sides".

Mr Trump wrote: "The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"

He also declared, amid fears in South Korea that threats from President Donald Trump to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang could lead to real fighting, that there would be no second war on the Korean Peninsula.

"South Korea and the US are in full communication and discussions", he added.

"Since yesterday we are a bit more optimistic", Gabriel said. North Korea simply lacks the capability to execute such a test in a way that doesn't open them up to global embarrassments like having the missiles fail or be shot down by the US.

In a meeting with Moon on Monday, Dunford reiterated the U.S.'s commitment to protect South Korea.

He said: " The most important task at hand is for the USA and North Korea to "hit the brakes" on their mutual needling of each other with words and actions, to lower the temperature of the tense situation and prevent the emergence of an "August crisis".

Mr Trump's recent aggressive comments about deploying possible military options underscored his resolve to counter the threat from the North's nuclear weapons and missile programmes.

Moon said he believes dialogue with North Korea can happen when North Korea halts missile and nuclear tests.

"If North Korea provokes again, it will face with much harsher sanction and won't stand it in the end".

"The United States and President Trump have already promised to sufficiently consult with South Korea and get our approval for whatever option they will take against North Korea".

Moon said he would be ready for dialogue once the isolated nation stops its provocations, adding that there was no rush.

Next week's start of annual U.S.

"If it is necessary, I will fly immediately to Washington and also visit Beijing and Tokyo", he said. It also conducted two underground nuclear tests in 2016.

This move is expected to cause controversy, as it is the first time the South Korean government has officially made an announcement regarding behavior that "will not be tolerated.' During a press conference held to mark the 100th day of his presidency, President Moon stated "At the point where North Korea is able to build an ICBM armed with a nuclear warhead, I believe that is where we need to draw a red line, and it appears that the North is drawing closer to that critical line".

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