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    A bipartisan group of Congress members touring portions of East Asia spent part of Thanksgiving serving lunch to U.S. troops stationed in South Korea before jetting off to Taiwan - despite protests from the Chinese Embassy. Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina was among the lawmakers serving vegetables, potatoes and turkey to some of the 28,000 American troops stationed in the country. 'Enjoyed serving our troops today,' Mace tweeted. 'Many of our soldiers haven’t been able to visit home or have their families visit them since the start of COVID. Incredibly important to give our men and women in uniform a heartfelt thanks.'   Democratic Rep. Mark Takano of California, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, was among the politicians who helped scoop food onto soldiers' plates and tossed a football with them. President Joe Biden also paid tribute to overseas troops on Thanksgiving while remaining in Nantucket for the holiday. Republican Rep. Nancy Mace (right) joined four Democrats in a tour of three east Asian countries, including South Korea, where she helped serve food to US troops...
    A bipartisan group of five members of Congress served food to U.S. troops stationed in South Korea on Thanksgiving and then headed to Taiwan, defying orders from China. Members on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, including Chairman and Democratic California Rep. Mark Takano, Democratic Texas Rep. Colin Allred, Republican South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace, Democratic California Rep. Sara Jacobs and Democratic Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin, served lunch to troops stationed in South Korea and threw a football around with them. “Happy Thanksgiving from South Korea – Enjoyed serving our troops today!!” Mace tweeted Thursday. “Many of our soldiers haven’t been able to visit home or have their families visit them since the start of COVID. Incredibly important to give our men and women in uniform a heartfelt thanks.” (RELATED: ‘Strategically Poised To Hold The House’ — Pelosi Sends Note To Dems Saying They Are ‘Preparing For Victory One Year Out’) Happy Thanksgiving from South Korea – Enjoyed serving our troops today!! Many of our soldiers haven’t been able to visit home or have their families visit them since the start...
    KIM Jong-un was pictured grinning as he watched crazed North Korean troops smashing bricks with their bare fists and lying on beds of nails in bizarre training footage. The video shows the bare-chested soldiers performing brutal acrobatic fight scenes in front of the North Korean dictator and rows of delighted senior military officers. 6The troops smashed bricks over their heads in a show of strengthCredit: Twitter 6One soldier lay on a bed of nails to have a block broken on his chestCredit: Twitter 6Kim Jong-un was seen grinning as he sat next to his sister Kim Yo-JongCredit: TWITTER The scene was part of a display put on by the North Korean army for the opening of a defence exhibition this week showcasing the nuclear-armed country's weapons. The crazed soldiers punched their way through layers of concrete bricks, or smashed them with their heads. Others were ferociously hammered on their arm or hand, and one lay on a bed of nails to have a block broken on his chest. Another soldier smashed two glass bottles together, adding to a pile...
    A SLIMMER Kim Jong-un was hugged by adoring kids as his troops marched in bizarre red hazmat suits for a midnight parade. The "emaciated" North Korean leader waved at crowds from a platform in Kim Il Sung square but gave no speech, according to the nation's state-run media. 5Men kitted up in red hazmat suits and gas masks took part in the bizarre midnight paradeCredit: AFP 5North Korea tyrant Kim Kong-un being hugged by adoring childrenCredit: AP North Korea experts say Kim, who was at a parade celebrating the nation's founding 73 years ago, has lost even more weight, confirming state media reports from June that the dictator has slimmed down. Martyn Williams from the North Korean think tank 38 North Project said: "It's striking how much healthier Kim Jong Un is looking in these photos from yesterday. "However he is doing it -- and there are theories -- he looks a lot better than he did a few months ago." Images released overnight show Kim looking considerably skinnier as he's hugged by two adoring children and salutes men marching...
    Former President Donald Trump on Friday slammed South Korean President Moon Jae-after Moon for saying he “failed” in his nuclear disarmament talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The South Korean president told The New York Times this week that Trump, who met three times with Kim, “beat around the bush and failed to pull it through.” Trump shot back that Moon was “weak” and ungrateful for his work to pacify Kim. “Kim Jong-un of North Korea, who I have gotten to know (and like) under the most trying of circumstances, never respected the current President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in,” Trump said in an emailed statement. “I was always the one who stopped the aggression toward the South, but unfortunately for them, I am no longer there. President Moon was weak as a leader and as a negotiator, except when it came to the continued, long term military ripoff of the USA (as is the case with many other countries we protect!).” Last month, South Korea agreed to increase payments to the US for stationing 28,500 troops in...
    By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — Striking a delicate balance, the United States and South Korea have agreed Seoul will pay 13.9% more this year for hosting American troops as part of a multiyear deal crafted to keep Seoul's share of the overall cost within historical norms, officials said Wednesday. The deal, which had been announced earlier this week but without financial details, ends a long stalemate that had strained relations between allies after the Trump administration demanded a five-fold increase in Seoul's contributions. President Joe Biden's willingness to quickly accept smaller increases is cast by the State Department as evidence that the Biden administration wants to repair relations with key allies in East Asia as it focuses on regional unity in confronting China and North Korea. The State Department announced Wednesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Tokyo and Seoul next week for security consultations to “reaffirm the United States’ commitment to strengthening our alliances.” Blinken will be joined in both meetings by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also will visit India....
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Striking a delicate balance, the United States and South Korea have agreed Seoul will pay 13.9% more this year for hosting American troops as part of a multiyear deal crafted to keep Seoul’s share of the overall cost within historical norms, officials said Wednesday. The deal, which had been announced earlier this week but without financial details, ends a long stalemate that had strained relations between allies after the Trump administration demanded a five-fold increase in Seoul’s contributions. President Joe Biden’s willingness to quickly accept smaller increases is cast by the State Department as evidence that the Biden administration wants to repair relations with key allies in East Asia as it focuses on regional unity in confronting China and North Korea. The State Department announced Wednesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Tokyo and Seoul next week for security consultations to “reaffirm the United States’ commitment to strengthening our alliances.” Blinken will be joined in both meetings by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also will visit India. American and South Korean officials, in separate...
    By Hyonhee Shin SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has agreed to a 13.9% increase in its contribution to the cost of hosting some 28,500 U.S. troops for 2021, the biggest annual rise in nearly two decades, its foreign ministry said on Wednesday. The increase will take South Korea's contribution this year to 1.18 trillion won ($1.03 billion). Former U.S. President Donald Trump questioned the extent of U.S. funding of the defence of allies and had demanded that South Korea pay as much as $5 billion a year. "The agreement resolved a vacuum that had lasted about a year and three months," the foreign ministry said in a statement. "It provided a chance to reaffirm the importance of the alliance and the need for stable stationing of U.S. Forces Korea." The six-year Special Measures Agreement with the United States, which came after drawn-out negotiations and will boost South Korea's annual contribution to the bill for 2022 to 2025 in line with its annual defence budget increase, which was 5.4% this year, the foreign ministry said. The pact replaces an arrangement that...
    SEOUL (Reuters) - The U.S. military will vaccinate South Korean troops serving under a joint command against the coronavirus, South Korea's defence ministry said on Wednesday. The announcement comes after U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) requested formal talks with the South Korean defence ministry over plans to inoculate South Korean personnel who serve with the United States Army. (Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Editing by Christian Schmollinger) Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters. Tags: diseases, infectious diseases, South Korea, Asia
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States has started vaccinating its troops based in South Korea, as its Asian ally reported its highest daily COVID-19 fatalities amid surging cases in the country. The United States Forces Korea says in a statement it started inoculating military and civilian health-care workers, first responders and the USFK command team with the Moderna vaccine on Tuesday. Among those who received the vaccinations was Gen. Robert B. Abrams, chief of the 28,500 American troops in South Korea. It says the vaccine is 100% voluntary and not mandatory. Abrams says that “I strongly encourage all eligible individuals to receive the vaccine.” The USFK statement says more vaccines from Moderna, and potentially others with FDA approval, will be sent to the USFK. The U.S. troops’ deployment is meant to deter potential aggression from North Korea. Abrams says the COVID-19 vaccine “is another tool that will help USFK maintain a robust combined defensive posture." South Korean government has faced domestic criticism that it has been too slow in working out vaccine procurement plans. The government said Tuesday...
    Washington (CNN)Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden attacked President Donald Trump's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in an op-ed for a Korean media outlet Friday and promised to engage in "principled diplomacy" in pursuing the denuclearization of North Korea.In an op-ed published in South Korea's Yonhap News Agency, Biden criticized Trump's "failed leadership" during the pandemic, claiming he has "tanked our economy and shattered hope for many Korean Americans."Visit CNN's Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 race"President Trump knew how deadly COVID-19 was back in January and did nothing to control it," Biden wrote. "More than 225,000 Americans are dead. Some 30 million have lost jobs, hours, wages. One in five small businesses have shut down, many of them Korean American-owned small businesses."Election 101Biden's op-ed was a direct and striking criticism of a sitting US leader in a foreign media outlet, and Yonhap called the piece the "first of its kind to a South Korean media company in the year of the US presidential election." Read MoreThe op-ed dropped just days ahead of Election Day in the US, where...
    Reuters October 30, 2020 0 Comments Democratic U.S. presidential challenger Joe Biden said that if elected he will strengthen Washington’s alliance with Seoul and not use the threat of reducing U.S. troop levels in South Korea as a bargaining chip. During the Trump administration, South Korea and the United States have been at odds over how much of the cost South Korea should shoulder to accommodate U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. President Donald Trump has said South Korea should pay more and the disagreement raised the prospect that he could push to withdraw at least some U.S. troops, as he has done elsewhere. “As President, I’ll stand with South Korea, strengthening our alliance to safeguard peace in East Asia and beyond, rather than extorting Seoul with reckless threats to remove our troops”, Biden wrote in a piece published on Friday in South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. “I’ll engage in principled diplomacy and keep pressing toward a denuclearized North Korea and a unified Korean Peninsula,...
    (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. presidential challenger Joe Biden said that if elected he will strengthen Washington's alliance with Seoul and not use the threat of reducing U.S. troop levels in South Korea as a bargaining chip. During the Trump administration, South Korea and the United States have been at odds over how much of the cost South Korea should shoulder to accommodate U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. President Donald Trump has said South Korea should pay more and the disagreement raised the prospect that he could push to withdraw at least some U.S. troops, as he has done elsewhere. "As President, I'll stand with South Korea, strengthening our alliance to safeguard peace in East Asia and beyond, rather than extorting Seoul with reckless threats to remove our troops", Biden wrote in a piece published on Friday in South Korea's Yonhap news agency. "I'll engage in principled diplomacy and keep pressing toward a denuclearized North Korea and a unified Korean Peninsula, while working to reunite Korean...
    South Korean President Moon Jae-in apologized Monday for the death of an official killed by North Korean troops last week after critics accused the government of not acting to protect a citizen. Moon offered his “deep condolences” to grieving family members and apologized to the public over its “shock and fury” during a meeting with senior officials, saying that the government “without any excuses” is responsible for protecting the safety of its citizens. NORTH KOREA ACCUSES SOUTH OF CROSSING DISPUTED BOUNDARY TO FIND DEAD OFFICIAL Military officials have said the man was spotted in North Korean waters about six hours before he was killed, prompting critics, including conservative lawmakers, to accuse Moon’s government of inaction. A South Korean marine boat patrols near Yeonpyeong island, South Korea, on Sunday. (Baek Seung-ryul/Yonhap via AP) Officials in Seoul have said the 47-year-old maritime agency employee was likely attempting to defect before North Korean troops aboard a boat fatally shot him and burned his body. The man's brother spoke to local media and denied the possibility of defection, saying it was more likely that he fell...
    (CNN)On Thursday, Mark Esper will have served exactly one year as secretary of defense but the last few months have been the toughest of his tenure as tensions with the White House have spilled out in public.With just under six months to go until inauguration day, Esper is walking a political tightrope. Defense officials tell CNN he has had to make time to focus on day-to-day crisis management alongside chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to try and prevent President Donald Trump from making any disastrous decisions that could damage national security or demoralize the military.A senior defense official says Esper still has achieved several goals aimed at reshaping the department to make troops more readily able to deploy in a crisis but some within the Pentagon believe it's possible Esper may be put in a similar position to Trump's first defense secretary, James Mattis, if the President makes a decision he feels he is unable to accept. Mattis resigned when he felt the President made an unacceptable decision by deciding to withdraw troops from Syria. NFL...
    By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is considering “adjustments” to its military presence in South Korea and around the globe as it shifts from years of countering insurgencies and militants in the greater Middle East to focusing on China, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday. Esper said he has issued no order to withdraw from South Korea. Without discussing specifics, Esper said he favors more emphasis on rotational deployments, as opposed to permanent stationing, of American troops “because it gives us, the United States, greater strategic flexibility in terms of responding to challenges around the globe.” The U.S. has about 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea as a bulwark against North Korea, but the U.S.-South Korea treaty alliance is under great strain, mainly because of the Trump administration's demand that Seoul vastly increase the amount it pays for the U.S. presence. Negotiations led on the U.S. side by the State Department have been deadlocked for months. The Pentagon said Esper spoke by phone Monday with his South Korean counterpart to discuss the payment issue...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is considering “adjustments” to its military presence in South Korea and around the globe as it shifts from years of countering insurgencies and militants in the greater Middle East to focusing on China, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday. Esper said he has issued no order to withdraw from South Korea. Without discussing specifics, Esper said he favors more emphasis on rotational deployments, as opposed to permanent stationing, of American troops “because it gives us, the United States, greater strategic flexibility in terms of responding to challenges around the globe.” The U.S. has about 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea as a bulwark against North Korea, but the U.S.-South Korea treaty alliance is under great strain, mainly because of the Trump administration’s demand that Seoul vastly increase the amount it pays for the U.S. presence. Negotiations led on the U.S. side by the State Department have been deadlocked for months. The Pentagon said Esper spoke by phone Monday with his South Korean counterpart to discuss the payment issue and other matters, including the stalemated U.S....
    The Pentagon has presented the White House with options to reduce the American military presence in South Korea as the two countries remain at odds over President Trump’s demand that Seoul greatly increase how much it pays for the U.S. troops stationed in the country, U.S. officials said. The Pentagon’s Joint Staff has reviewed the structure of U.S. forces in South Korea as part of a broader re-examination of how to reposition and potentially reduce military deployments world-wide, a U.S. military official said. Trump administration officials declined to spell out contingency plans to shrink the American military presence in South Korea below the current level of 28,500 U.S. troops and said no decision to reduce the force has been made. US APPEARS TO CHANGE POLICY ON BEIJING'S 'UNLAWFUL' ACTIONS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA The disclosure comes as Mr. Trump has unnerved allies by deciding to remove 9,500 of the 34,500 U.S. troops permanently stationed in Germany and as one of the president’s most outspoken advisers has signaled that more troop withdrawals might occur. “Donald Trump was very clear,” Richard Grenell, the...
    US troops sparked anger in South Korea after they fired fireworks and brawled in the streets of Busan during last weekend's Fourth of July celebrations.  United States Forces Korea (USFK), the commanding office for troops stationed in the country, apologised today after videos circulated on social media of American forces setting off fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.     One clip showed a group of South Korean police officers trying to apprehend a man before the suspect let off a firework towards an open shop.  In another video obtained by local media, two Americans could be seen scrapping with each other in the middle of the street.   'It was totally like a foreign country, not Korea,' one Busan resident told South Korea's YTN News.  In Haeundae, Busan, which is a short distance from the Chinhae US Navy Base, the firework frenzy prompted locals to file more than 70 police reports.  A man is apprehended by law enforcement in Haeundae near Busan, South Korea (left) after he launched a rocket at buildings (right) during Fourth of July celebrations over the...
    ON THIS DAY IN 1921, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “WASHINGTON — Although official information is withheld, some of President Harding’s closest advisers expect him to nominate former President Taft for Chief Justice of the United States in the very near future. In some quarters it is believed that official announcement of the selection of Mr. Taft might be made today. There are many considerations entering into the choice, however, and among other officials high in the Administration, the belief prevailed that no nomination would go in until after the Fourth of July recess of Congress. All recent indications have pointed to the former President as Mr. Harding’s probable choice, but no nomination had been signed by the President early today.” *** ON THIS DAY IN 1934, the Eagle reported, “BERLIN (AP) — A general housecleaning of militant Nazi forces, with Chancellor Adolf Hitler wielding the broom like a bludgeon, appeared to be in progress. A reliable source said Karl Ernst, commander of the Nazi Storm Troops in Berlin and Brandenburg, had been arrested together with many other Storm Troops...
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