Trump Praised the North Koreans as "Great People"

Saul Bowman
November 7, 2017

The letter, reportedly written by vice director of the Pentagon's Joint Staff Rear Adm. Michael J Dumont, said North Korea "has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood and choking agents".

Trump's trip comes amid escalating tensions with North Korea, which has continued to pursue its missile and nuclear programs and ramped up its missile testing.

While the joint military drills between the US and South Korea that both sides say are defensive in nature they enrage South Korea's neighbor to the north - Pyongyang views them as practice for an eventual invasion.

Trump has rattled some US allies with his vow to "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatens the United States, for deriding Kim as a "Rocket Man on a suicide mission" and for dismissing as pointless any diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang.

A key US ally, South Korea is home to more than 50 million people.

The US administration is considering putting North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism amid growing demands from several US senators, who had mandated a congressional deadline for the State Department to take a decision.

It also follows a new round of sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council in September following the North's sixth nuclear test and a flurry of missile launches in recent months.

President Donald Trump visits South Korea on Tuesday on the second leg of his first official Asian tour.

US ally South Korea, meanwhile, is rolling out the red carpet for Trump but is also sensitive to the fact that he plans to spend only 24 hours in the country compared to 48 hours in Japan, the kind of comparison that South Koreans often make because of concerns they are a lesser USA priority than Tokyo, its richer neighbor.

North Korea on Sunday warned Donald Trump against making "reckless remarks" as the USA president began a marathon Asian tour dominated by the nuclear threat from Pyongyang. Trump also singled out trade, which he said had been "badly handled" for years.

'Every once in a while, in the past, they underestimated us.

All 18 have already been sanctioned by the United States, and the announcement came a day before Trump - who has accused South Korea's dovish President Moon Jae-In of "appeasement" - was due to arrive in Seoul.

The latest verbal attack at the North Korean Dictator came during President's Trump visit to Japan. He said of the 300,000 people who could potentially die in the initial days, more than 100,000 could be Americans.

When playing out hypothetical war scenarios in case armed conflict were to break out, the Pentagon "estimated the potential number of dead in South Korea at 20,000 each day", retired general Rob Givens told the Los Angeles Times.

North Korea has said in public statements that it wants an official end to the Korean War.

But the base visit will give him a first-hand view not only of the massive military assets the United States has in place in South Korea but also could serve as a reminder of the cost in USA military lives - as well as the potential massive South Korean civilian losses - if the current crisis spirals into war.

Beijing has pleaded with both the U.S. and Pyongyang to 'realize that resorting to military force will never be a viable way to resolve the peninsula issue and their own concerns, adding that 'War on the peninsula will have no victor'.

Last year, South Korea unilaterally closed operations at the jointly-run Kaesong Industrial Complex, saying cash from the zone was being funnelled to the North's weapons programme.

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