Flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis, U.S. President Donald Trump meets with members of his cabinet at the White House. Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Seoul’s top envoy to Washington says that senior US officials have assured South Korea that military options against North Korea are a last resort.

Yonhap reports that Ambassador Ahn Ho-young told a visiting group of South Korean lawmakers on Monday that the message has been sent “consistently and convincingly.”

“Responsible government officials in the US note that while all options are on the table, there are many things that can be done before taking up military options,” Ahn was quoted by the South Korean official news agency as saying.

“The goal of the Trump administration’s sanctions and pressure campaign is ultimately a peaceful solution to the North Korean problem,” Ahn said. ” Whether it’s Defense Secretary James Mattis or Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, they all say the same thing,” he added.

US, Japan officials land in Seoul

In related news, Yonhap said that senior US and Japanese diplomats arrived in Seoul Tuesday to discuss diplomatic measures to tackle North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.

“I am here to focus on our diplomatic efforts to address the issues that confront us about the DPRK,” Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan told reporters at Gimpo International Airport. He flew into Seoul from Japan after a two-day visit.

Sullivan was quoted earlier by Reuters as saying that the US is not ruling out the possibility of direct talks with North Korea.

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