Top US general says it's Trump's decision whether to strike N. Korea

Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made clear on Monday that Washington is ready "to use the full range of military capabilities to defend our allies and the United States homeland", according to U.S. military spokesman Capt. Darryn James, as cited by AP.

Dunford made the remarks on Monday during a visit to South Korea where he met senior South Korean military officials and President Moon Jae-in, days after President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with war.

Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC) chief Vincent Brooks and CFC deputy commander Kim Byung-ju also attended the meeting with the defense minister.

That followed a warning by North Korea's news agency, KCNA, on Monday that any war could "only be turned into a nuclear war".

Concern that North Korea is close to achieving its goal of putting the mainland United States within range of a nuclear weapon has underpinned a spike in tension in recent months.

Tensions have skyrocketed since North Korea's army said it would complete a plan to fire missiles into the waters off the USA territory of Guam sometime this week.

Moon and Dunford are likely to reaffirm the two countries' long-standing military alliance.

Strategic patience is the term used for ex-President Barack Obama's policy toward the North, which relied on punishing economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure.

It comes as senior United States officials attempted to provide assurances with that conflict with North Korea not imminent.

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"How close have we come to this situation?"

Most recently, Trump tweeted Friday that "Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely".

Dunford is visiting South Korea, Japan and China after a week in which Trump said he was ready to unleash "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to threaten the United States.

Pyongyang claimed that the range of the second missile meant they could now reach the USA, which set officials on edge before an intelligence report indicated that North Korea had also successfully miniaturised nuclear weapons that would fit within one of their missiles.

The remarks capped a week of escalating rhetoric with yet another warning Friday that if Kim makes any "overt threat" or strike at a US territory or ally that "he will truly regret it, and he will regret it fast". North Korea's military chiefs would then await leader Kim's instructions, state media have said.

Pompeo was asked on "Fox News Sunday" to provide a psychological profile of Kim, whose father and grandfather ruled North Korea before him.

Moon, however, said that the security situation of the Korean peninsula and neighboring countries had become "very severe, due to the North's continuous provocations".

Marine Gen Joseph Dunford arrived in Seoul earlier in the day amid growing tensions following the North's intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month and an escalating war of words between Pyongyang and Washington.

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