But that possibility worries some, who say it would send the wrong message to both North Korea and the South, where there are fears that the North's advancing nuclear capabilities may eventually undermine a decades-long alliance with the United States.
"We can't afford to lose all that we've built from the ashes of the Korean War".
The Ulchi Freedom Guardian drills, which will run through August 31, will be the first large-scale military exercise between the allies since North Korea successfully flight-tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July and threatened to bracket Guam with intermediate range ballistic missile fire earlier this month.
The call came as China urged the USA and North Korea to "hit the brakes" on the hostile rhetoric that has led to both countries threatening each other with military action and to prevent an "August crisis" on the peninsula.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that North Korea made a "very wise" decision after Pyongyang opted to hold off on a threatened missile strike near Guam. "The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"
Mattis also said there would be strong military consequences for the North Korean regime, echoing past statements that an attack on Guam or any other US land would mean war.
This could make attempts at diplomacy between the two nations even more hard.
America's annual joint military exercises with South Korea always frustrate North Korea.
10 marins américains manquent à l'appel
Le 10 août ce même bâtiment militaire s'était approché d'une île artificielle construite par Pékin en mer de Chine méridionale. La collision s'est produite alors que le destroyer se dirigeait vers le port de Singapour.
During an inspection of the North Korean strategic rocket forces earlier this week, Kim praised the military for drawing up a "close and careful plan" but said he would watch how Washington acts before deciding whether to go ahead with his Guam missile test plans, according to state media.
"If North Korea launches another provocation, it will face even stronger sanctions and it will not be able to survive them". The US is treaty-bound to defend Japan from outside attacks.
"He's absolutely right", said former North Korea nuclear negotiator Joel S. Wit.
North Korea's threat was in reaction to new United Nations Security Council restrictions. "North Korea is nearing the red line", he said without elaborating on the consequences of crossing it.
Tensions escalated in July after Pyongyang conducted two intercontinental ballistic (ICBM) missile tests and claimed the projectiles are capable of reaching the U.S. mainland and carrying a nuclear weapon, an assessment some regional and Western analysts concur with.
"As tensions run high between the U.S. and North Korea, Moon has a good reason to tone them down amid fear of a war", Kim said.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul had no immediate response, instead referring requests for comment to the White House.
In a recent editorial for North Korea's newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, North Korea criticized the annual South Korea, United States and partner allies' military exercise, Ulchi Freedom Guardian, which begins today.
Pyongyang's plans to fire missiles near Guam prompted a surge in tensions in the region last week, with Mr Trump saying the USA military was "locked and loaded" if North Korea acted unwisely.
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