U.S. Has Agreed Not to Take Military Action Against North Korea Without 1st Getting South Korea’s Approval
The United States has agreed not to take any military action against North Korea without first getting South Korea’s approval, President Moon Jae-in said Thursday as he marked 100 days in office, according to the Washington Post.
Backing up the president’s assertion, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in Beijing that there was “no question” that South Korea would be consulted before any possible military action was taken on the Korean Peninsula.
“South Korea is an ally and everything we do in the region is in the context of our alliance,” Dunford told reporters traveling with him on a trip that has taken him to Seoul and then to Beijing, where he met with President Xi Jinping on Thursday. Dunford will later travel to Tokyo.
The risk to South Korea has restrained successive American administrations striking North Korea to take out its nuclear and missile facilities, even as its capability has improved to the point where it now poses a threat to the U.S. mainland.
But a strike on North Korea would likely cause Pyongyang to unleash conventional artillery at Seoul, just over the border. Ten million people live in the South Korean capital but as many as 25 million people — half the population — live in the greater Seoul region and within North Korean artillery range.
Although the U.S. and South Korean militaries would respond quickly, the initial volleys could cause significant damage and panic.
Moon, the liberal president elected in May, ruled out the prospect of another war on the Korean Peninsula, even as he warned Pyongyang that it was rapidly approaching a “red line” with its missile program.
Fan Changlong, a vice chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission, told his American counterpart that military means should not be an option in solving the Korean Peninsula issues.
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