But he has aligned South Korea more closely with its military ally than many had expected.
The map behind Kim Jong-un shows the four distinct areas of the South Joseon (Korea) Operating Zone, with the estimated firing range of various North Korean missiles.
In July, Seoul reached out to North Korea by proposing high level talks in an effort to halt hostile activities along their joint border.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has signaled his country will no longer stay quiet as tensions escalate between the USA and North Korea.
“I say this with confidence that there will be no war on the Korean Peninsula ever again”, Moon said in a press conference marking his first 100 days in office. Aside from that disagreement, the two sides did sign a deal to deepen military cooperation.
“Many thoughtful people have said we should introduce tactical nukes into the western Pacific, making signals that Japan no longer considers the U.S. nuclear umbrella adequate and is going their own way”, said Mr Bird, who added that pre-emptive strikes on North Korea might be warranted under some conditions.
The recently elected South Korean president had previously referred to a “red line” that he had urged North Korea not to cross, but had not defined this “red line” in any way.
The President, however, admitted that the USA would “take proper measures if the North continues provocative acts or launches an aggressive act” against the DPRK that may not involve South Korea.
The military pact was last invoked by the Australian government following the 9/11 terror attacks by Al Qaeda in the US.
He added that “the red line” would be North Korea “completing its intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM]” and “mounting it with a nuclear warhead and weaponizing it”.
North Korea strongly condemns the exercises calling them preparations for “invasion”.
Donald Trump responded by saying North Korea, “Best not make any more threats to the US”.
As a candidate for the presidency, Moon, a liberal who took office in May, said he would “say no to the Americans” if necessary. What is your definition of a “red line”?
“Only South Korea can decide military actions on the Korean Peninsula”, he said.
“I can confidently say there will not be a war again on the Korean Peninsula”.
“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”.
Next week’s start of annual US-South Korean military exercises that enrage the North each year could make diplomacy even more hard.
During the 40-minute talks, the defense chiefs also discussed ways to seek a complementary development of the Korea-U.S. alliance. Moon’s calls for a peace treaty and dialogue have been drowned out by the war of words between Trump and Kim.
“Very simply, in the event of a missile launch towards the territory of Japan, Guam, the United States, Korea, we would take immediate specific actions to take it down”, Mattis told reporters.