US and South Korean military chiefs have discussed ways to deter North Korea without initiating a war in the wake of recent artillery attacks.
US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman admiral Mike Mullen and his counterpart general Han Min-Koo discussed ways to deter any future attacks and the North's likely motives.
The chiefs also reviewed planned exercises and felt that future drills must improve preparedness while not fuelling tensions.
"We all need to be mindful of the overall situation as we look at what we would call normal kinds of exercises, or even routine, because normalcy and routine are not what they used to be," Mullen said.
The US stations 28,500 troops in South Korea and assumes command of both countries' militaries in case of war, according to Agence France Presse.
The US and its regional allies have rejected a Chinese call for emergency talks on the crisis between envoys to six-party nuclear disarmament talks, including the North's representative.