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US military ready in case of provocation

US military ready in case of provocation
Guam residents hold a rally for peace in Hagatna, Guam on Monday. (Photo: AP)

Seoul: A top US military officer on Monday said the US wants to peacefully resolve a deepening standoff with North Korea but is also ready to use the “full range” of its military capabilities in case of provocation.

The comments by Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford in a series of meetings with senior South Korean military and political officials and the local media appeared to be an attempt to ease anxiety over tit-for-tat threats between President Donald Trump and North Korea while also showing a willingness to back up Mr Trump’s warnings if need be.

Gen. Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is visiting South Korea, Japan and China after a week in which Mr Trump declared the US military “locked and loaded” and said he was ready to unleash “fire and fury” if North Korea continued to threaten the US.

North Korea, meanwhile, has threatened to lob four intermediate-range missiles into the waters near Guam, a tiny US territory about 3,200 km from Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.

Meanwhile, in a co-authored opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and defence secretary James Mattis, said the aim of the United States’ “peaceful pressure campaign” was denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and not regime change.