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The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says he's aiming to further develop a working relationship with his counterpart in China in order to lessen the risk of miscalculation on the Korean Peninsula as tensions rise between the USA and North Korea.

"The problem is that Kim Jong Un is nothing like his father", said Nam Seong-wook, professor of North Korea Studies at Korea University in Seoul.

In response to questions about the USA response if North Korea were to launch missiles against Guam, Dunford asked reporters to not confuse military action with policy.

Tensions have skyrocketed since North Korea's army said it would complete a plan to fire missiles into the waters off the US territory of Guam sometime this week.

"I think what is important is not to confuse military action with policy", Gen Dunford said. From September 5th, it will no longer buy North Korean coal, iron and iron ore, lead and fish, among other items.

It added: "We are watching every single thing in the United States". "Our job - General Brooks and I - is to make sure our leadership has options available to them to properly respond".

"The president noted the current security conditions on the Korean Peninsula constituted a more serious, real and urgent threat than ever created by the advancement in North Korea's nuclear and missile technologies", his spokesman, Park Soo-hyun, said after the meeting.

Meanwhile, China has signalled it will halt iron, iron ore and seafood imports from North Korea starting on Tuesday, following the United Nations resolution on sanctions. "We are seeking peaceful resolution to the crisis right now".

Amid the exchange of belligerent rhetoric between the United States and the DPRK, tensions ran high on the peninsula. It would then be up to leader Kim Jong-un as to when to fire the missiles-during the exercises, conceivably.

Seoul, a vibrant metropolitan area of some 25 million people, lies within range of North Korea's conventional artillery stationed just 30 miles to the North. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, including more than 28,000 USA troops, also live in South Korea.

Trump also said the U.S. was considering tighter sanctions against North Korea.

The upcoming military exercises by the US and South Korea occur every year. "North Korea most especially and the bombs that might potentially hit us and to kind of unify the community and bring them out here and to think about something else instead of getting bombed".

The Combined Forces Command is truly a combined command, Brooks said - US and South Korean forces are integrated in a manner not seen anywhere else in the world. The annual exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian begins next week and, he said, as a matter of course it draws condemnation from North Korea. "They may continue launching missile tests but they don't want a war, and the USA doesn't want military action either".

"We're not closer to war than a week ago but we are closer to war than we were a decade ago", McMaster said Sunday on ABC's "This Week".

In an apparent warning to Pyongyang against military action that can be taken as a direct threat to the United States, an editorial in the Global Times called on the Chinese leadership to "make clear" that if it is Pyongyang who fires off missiles that "threaten USA soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral". "That's all we are preparing for".