South Korea pondering whether to provide North Korea oil for cultural event

Lt. Gen. Robert Neller

Trump highlighted Warmbier's death during his address to underscore his criticism of North Korea and reiterate the "nuclear threat" of the regime. It identified nine entities, 16 individuals, and six vessels that were engaging in activity defying the United Nations Security Council Resolutions and enabling the North Korean economy as it produces weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Trump stopped short of offering specifics on any changes to his current policy - one that has so far consisted of beefing up US military assets in Northeast Asia, trading rhetorical barbs with North Korea's dictator and pushing on China to help isolate Pyongyang economically.

"This is typical behavior of North Korea - trying to surprise the counter-party by pulling this kind of trick", said Go Myung-hyun of the Seoul-based Asan Institute, a think tank.

The president highlighted human rights abuses by the Pyongyang regime, saying no country has oppressed its citizens "more totally or brutally" than the "cruel dictatorship" in North Korea. "But they don't want to actually paint us into a corner where we get a war".

After launching the Hwasong-15 missile in November, North Korea told the world they could now nuke the U.S., but military intelligence doubted their claims.

Trump's comments also come amid reports of the White House's decision to pass over Victor Cha's nomination for United States ambassador to South Korea.

President Donald Trump will reportedly deliver "eye-opening" remarks about his administration's efforts to stop North Korea's nuclear program at his first-ever State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Also, the Central Intelligence Agency head warned, "There is a set of military tasks that might have to be taken".

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More than 40 South Koreans, including skiers, supporting staff and pool reporters, are on standby for the scheduled flight from the Yangyang airport in the South's eastern province of Gangwon to the Kalma airport in the North Korean city Wonsan.

A leaked draft policy document posted online this month, said the United States would pursue development of a new nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile.

And chilling satellite images have revealed how North Korea' missile capabilities have become more sophisticated under Kim Jong-un's leadership.

Trump also highlighted audience member Ji Seong-ho, who defected from North Korea to South Korea in 2006.

The North Koreans have stringent concealment and deception protocols created to camouflage their ballistic missile program, which includes newly developed methods for moving missiles to launch sites that are almost undetectable, he said.

"We're seeing some increase in executions, mostly against political officers who are in military units, for corruption", he said.

In an implementation report recently submitted to the UNSC sanctions committee, Angola said that in November it informed the North of its decision to end the construction project contracts with the company, Mansudae Angola.

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