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

Nellie Chapman
February 13, 2019

"They were paying about $500 million for $5 billion worth of protection", Trump said. 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.

The comment by David Malpass, under secretary of the US Treasury for worldwide affairs, came after Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, asked the World Bank to play a leading role in providing assistance for development of North Korea in case there is meaningful progress on denuclearisation. Our military combat readiness and combined lethality remain the best deterrent and the best leverage against any threat from North Korea.

After the first summit, Trump tweeted that "there was no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea" and that "everybody can now feel much safer".

The Trump administration has vowed to keep up economic pressure until the North takes credible steps towards the peninsula's complete denuclearization.

In order for Pyongyang to have any chance at hosting, North Korea will have to show a willingness to break down their nuclear program, in which President Donald Trump's summit in Hanoi at the end of the month with Kim Jong-Un will be vital. The North Koreans apparently focused on how Kim will get around Hanoi as well as security and protocol issues.

The U.S. now has over 28,000 troops in South Korea.

South Korea's presidential Blue House pushed back on Wednesday against comments by U.S. President Donald Trump that suggested Seoul had agreed to pay $500 million more toward maintaining U.S. troops in the country.

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He declared, however, that "the North Korean military remains formidable and risky, with no discernible differences in the assessed force structure, readiness, or lethality my predecessor reported in 2018".

Meanwhile, North Korea is continuing its annual winter military exercises, Abrams said.

North Korea's conventional and asymmetric military capabilities along with their continued development advanced conventional systems remains unchecked.

North Korea has for decades said the exercises amount to preparation to invade the North - a notion the US strongly denies.

Vietnam's Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh said North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho invited him to visit the North from Tuesday until Thursday.

Such advances "continue to hold the United States, [South Korea] and our regional allies at risk", he added. North Korea is a copy.

Just weeks before the two leaders travel to Vietnam for a second summit on denuclearizing the divided Korean Peninsula, Army Gen. Robert Abrams, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that holding a second summit would be a "positive step" but conceded there is no evidence yet Pyongyang is ramping down efforts to bolster their military and nuclear programs.

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