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Trump could face thorny issues on South Korea visit

Trump could face thorny issues on South Korea visit”

Rear Adm Michael J Dumont of the Joint Staff offered the assessment in response to a letter from Reps Ted Lieu of California and Ruben Gallego of Arizona.

The Pentagon made the assessment in a letter to two House members who asked about "expected casualty assessments in a conflict with North Korea", including civilians and US troops in South Korea, Japan and Guam, according to the daily.

U.S. President Donald Trump will step directly into the shadow of the North Korean nuclear standoff on Tuesday on a visit to South Korea in which his words alone could risk further inflaming tensions with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Post reported that a statement from 16 lawmakers - all but one of them Democrats - obtained along with the Pentagon letter said the "assessment underscores what we've known all along: There are no good military options for North Korea".

A key USA ally, South Korea is home to more than 50 million people. He said a decision would be made soon on whether to add North Korea to a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Tensions are high after the North's sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September, along with a series of ballistic missile launches in recent months.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) during a news conference at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo on November 6, 2017.

"Any operation to pursue North Korean nuclear weapons would likely be spearheaded by U.S. Special Operations troops", it added.

During the state visit, South Koreans are also bracing for the possibility that Trump will renew his criticism of Moon over his support for diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang - something the USA president once called "appeasement" - and will again threaten to pull out of a free trade pact between the two countries.

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. "Every once a while in the past they underestimated us".

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. "The warmongering, arms-selling businessman Trump shouldn't come to Korea", the coalition said.

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

Those sanctioned were banned from having any trade deals with South Korea.



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