WASHINGTON -- The United States has reassured South Korea that it will consult with the ally in advance should it use military options against North Korea, a senior South Korean government official said Monday.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, noted, however, that the US does not appear close to carrying out a pre-emptive strike on Pyongyang.
"The US has clearly promised us that should such a situation arise, it will thoroughly and closely consult with South Korea in advance," the official told reporters. "South Korea's views will be reflected in a significant way."
Tensions reached a new high after North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.
On Tuesday (North Korean time), the communist regime launched a missile over Japan, just three days after it fired three short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea.
Still, the latest provocation is unlikely to increase the likelihood of a US pre-emptive strike on the North, according to the official.
"Neither South Korea nor the US has used the terms 'preventive strike' or 'pre-emptive strike'" in recent discussions, he said.
The back-to-back launches pour cold water on Seoul and Washington's efforts to create conditions for dialogue with Pyongyang.
On Sunday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington will continue its "peaceful pressure campaign ... to see if we can bring the regime in Pyongyang to the negotiating table with a view to begin a dialogue on a different future for the Korean Peninsula and for North Korea." (Yonhap)