S.Korea pushes back at Trump claims about money for troops

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"North Korea's situation can be improved". Kim warned in his 2019 New Year's speech of a potential "new path", which could indicate an eventual return to missile and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) testing if he is not satisfied with the pace of negotiations and potential benefits.

FILE - U.S. Army and South Korean soldiers take their positions during a demonstration of the combined arms live-fire exercises at the Rodriquez Multi-Purpose Range Complex in Pocheon, north of Seoul, South Korea, March 25, 2015.

In Washington, Mr. Trump touted Mr. Biegun's visit on social media, tweeting: "My representatives have just left North Korea after a very productive meeting".

Asked by Senator Jack Reed whether the US can afford to reduce its troop presence, Abrams responded that the current posture "is appropriate in terms of providing an adequate deterrent" against North Korea. The North Koreans apparently focused on how Kim will get around Hanoi as well as security and protocol issues.

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Two weeks before a second summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea has said he has seen "little to no verifiable change" in Pyongyang's military capabilities following last year's first meeting.

Mr. Kim agreed to pursue a complete end to his nuclear weapons programs at last summer's Singapore summit with Mr. Trump, and the North has since refrained from the missile and weapons test that brought the two countries to the brink of conflict early in Mr. Trump's presidency.

Despite a reduction in tensions along the DMZ [demilitarized zone] and a cessation of strategic provocations coupled with public statements of intent to denuclearize little to no verifiable change has occurred in North Korea's military capabilities.

While saying there had been a lowering of tensions along the heavily armed border between North and South Korea, Pyongyang's military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional, "remain unchecked", he said.

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Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday to discuss details of the upcoming bilateral summit with the U.S.

North Korea remains the No. 1 immediate threat to American forces in the Indo-Pacific Command area of operations, said Adm. Philip Davidson, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command chief who testified alongside Abrams on Tuesday. "These capabilities continue to hold the United States, the Republic of Korea and our regional allies at risk".

North Korea has produced enough bomb fuel to build seven more nuclear weapons since talks began with the United States, a study has revealed.

Adm. Davidson also warned that North Korea continues to engage in efforts "near or in Chinese territorial waters" to "circumvent" the USA sanctions meant to pressure the regime into denuclearization.

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The landmark summit in Singapore produced a vague commitment from Kim to work toward the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, where USA troops have been stationed since the 1950-53 Korean War.

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