President Moon Jae-in suggested in a TV interview aired Thursday that his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump's belligerent talk about North Korea and Seoul's more cautious approach constitutes a kind of "role sharing" between the allies.
Moon told Channel NewsAsia in Singapore last week that Trump sometimes makes hardline remarks with the purpose of putting pressure on North Korea, but he does not actually plan to carry out any military action.
Moon was replying to a question whether Trump's Twitter outbursts make it more difficult to work for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Trump's latest bluster came in a speech in the National Assembly, when he warned the North, "Do not underestimate us. And do not try us."
But Moon added, "Under the current situation, President Trump's visit to South Korea and his messages will assure the Korean people, while having an effect of easing the tensions on the Korean Peninsula. And I hope that this will be a vital moment in dealing with the North Korean nuclear problem."
Commenting on Beijing's proposal to halt to joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises, Moon said it is not appropriate to talk about a halt at a time when the North's nuclear and missile provocations are worsening.
He said talks will be possible only when Pyongyang has the intention of stopping nuclear and missile provocations.