South Korea's foreign minister has renewed her call for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of North Korea's nuclear issue, strongly opposing any military action that could lead to a second war on the Korean Peninsula.
In an interview with US broadcaster NBC, Kang Kyung-wha said military options are "there to give strength to diplomacy," not to be used against the North.
"Another war on the Korean Peninsula must not happen," Kang said during the interview in Seoul that was posted on its Web site and later aired on NBC Nightly News. "A resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue must be pursued in a peaceful, diplomatic manner."
The interview came just ahead of US President Donald Trump's planned visit to Seoul on Tuesday following his trip to Japan.
Trump is to stay here for two days during which he plans to have a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
In a press conference in Tokyo on Monday, Trump repeated his government's stance that the "era of strategic patience is over" in dealing with the North.
The allies have been placing importance on applying maximum pressure on the North to force it to give up its nuclear and missile programs.
However, the Trump administration has also frequently suggested using military options against the North.
South and North Korea have been technically in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
"We need to be very careful about military options," Kang said.
"This is a country that grew out of the total devastation of the Korean War, and over a matter of six, seven decades we've become a thriving democracy ... and a thriving market economy," she added. "The idea that another war could wipe that out is just unimaginable." (Yonhap)