Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, said Tuesday that no country “should be allowed” to take military action on North Korea without first being approved by Seoul.
The New York Times reported that Moon made the comments during a nationally televised speech.
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. wants to peacefully resolve tensions with North Korea, but Washington is also ready to use the "full range" of its military capabilities. His visit to Asia, which also will include a stop in Japan, comes after Trump last week declared the U.S. military "locked and loaded" and said he was ready to unleash "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to threaten the United States.
North Korea's military on Tuesday presented leader Kim Jong Un with plans to launch missiles into waters near the U.S. territory of Guam and "wring the windpipes of the Yankees," even as both Koreas and the United States signaled their willingness to avert a deepening crisis, with each suggesting a path toward negotiations.
The tentative interest in diplomacy follows unusually combative threats between Trump and North Korea amid worries Pyongyang is nearing its long-sought goal of being able to send a nuclear missile to the U.S. mainland. Next week's start of U.S.-South Korean military exercises that enrage the North each year could make diplomacy even more difficult.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Washington on Tuesday, "We continue to be interested in trying to find a way to get to dialogue, but that's up to (Kim)."
Moon, in a televised speech on the anniversary of World War II's end and the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonial rule, said Seoul and Washington agree that the nuclear standoff should "absolutely be solved peacefully."
The Associated Press contributed to this report