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South Korean President Moon Jae-in rules out war with North Korea

President Moon has said there won't be a new war on the Korean Peninsula. He added that US President Donald Trump has promised to seek Seoul's approval before pursuing any option against its nuclear-armed neighbor.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged North Korea on Thursday not to make further provocations as it would result in tougher sanctions that the impoverished country would not be able to withstand.

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Worlds apart in Korea

He said he would consider sending a special envoy to North Korea for talks if Pyongyang stopped conducting missile tests.

"All South Koreans have worked so hard together to rebuild the country from the ruins of the Korean War," Moon said at a press conference marking his first 100 days in office.

"I will prevent war at all cost," he added. "So I want all South Koreans to believe with confidence that there will be no war."

Moon also said, however, North Korea would be "crossing a red line" if it were to arm an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.

Tensions in the region surged last week when Pyongyang said it might strike the strategically important US territory of Guam after US President Trump warned he would unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if it threatened the United States .

Read more: Donald Trump - Kim Jong Un 'war of words' timeline

Defusing the situation

The intense rhetoric between the two sides appeared to have cooled down a little after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Wednesday he would watch the actions of the United States a little longer before making any decision on firing missiles towards Guam. Moon then said the crisis must "absolutely be solved peacefully."

Trump responded with a tweet, saying Kim had "made a very wise and well-reasoned decision. The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"

Moon said Trump's comments do not appear to have been made with the intention to take military action.

"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. "It's a firm agreement between South Korea and the United States."

Top Chinese general Fan Changlong said on Thursday that talks are the only effective way to resolve the North Korean issue.

"China believes that dialogue and consultations are the only effective avenue to resolve the peninsula issue, and that military means cannot become an option," China's Defense Ministry cited Fan as saying.

Infografik North Korea's missile ranges

Similarly, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in an interview published Wednesday that there was "no military solution" to North Korea's nuclear threats because of Pyongyang's artillery targeting the South Korean capital.

"Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us," Bannon told The American Prospect.

The United States and South Korea technically still remain at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

rs, ap/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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