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U.S. Denies Plans to Reduce Military Presence in S.Korea

U.S. Denies Plans to Reduce Military Presence in S.Korea”

Tensions between the USA and North Korea that spiked last year when Trump and Kim were trading insults and dire threats have ebbed this year, but the North has not taken irreversible steps to give up the nukes it spent decades making and which it views as key to its security.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is reported to have pledged during his summit with President Moon Jae-in in September that he would not demand the withdrawal of USFK troops or the US-led United Nations Command.

North Korea has long sought U.S. recognition as a nuclear state and guarantees for the survival of the generational Kim regime, which human rights groups consider one of the most repressive in the world.

Trump had been asked about the administration's announcement, in the middle of the night as Tuesday's midterm elections results were coming in, that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Thursday meeting with a key aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had been postponed.

The cancellation of the talks comes just a week after North Korea threatened to resume its nuclear weapons programme if the USA failed to lift sanctions against the country.

"There have been cases in the past when US-North Korea talks were delayed, so there is no need to shift between hope and fear", a senior ministry official told reporters.

"It is hard for us to comment on Chairman Dunford's remarks, because we don't know exactly what he meant by it", presidential spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said in a regular press briefing on Tuesday. We think it's going fine.

"We're in no rush whatsoever" to conclude a denuclearization pact with Pyongyang, Trump said Wednesday, adding he would "love to take the sanctions off", but North Korea has to be responsive.

"Gen. Dunford was simply highlighting that the Defense Department is in support of the State Department when it comes to the ongoing diplomatic negotiations with North Korea", JCS spokesperson Col. Patrick S. Ryder told Voice of America.

Trump said he still expected to hold a second summit with Kim.

However, skepticism persists among conservatives in South Korea that Pyongyang could change its position if the two Koreas and the U.S. were to declare an end to the Korean War and subsequently enter negotiations for a peace treaty to replace the current armistice agreement.

Russian Federation said in October it was time to consider the possibility of relaxing the global restrictions against Pyongyang amid commitment expressed by North Korea's leadership to denuclearize of the Korean Peninsula.

At the news conference, Trump pointed out that North Korea has not tested further missiles amid the talks.

Pompeo, speaking Sunday on Fox News, said he was "not worried" about the North Korean demands and insisted there would be "no economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective".

During a press conference on Wednesday mostly focused on midterm US elections, Trump contended that he had made more progress with North Korea than past administrations, and said that with sanctions still in place, he was not in a hurry to reach a deal with Pyongyang, which has halted nuclear and missile tests for the past year.

"Keeping these things in sync is always a challenge", said former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel. "When the North Koreans are seemingly opening the door, then those differences in priorities and perspective can create tensions".



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