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Kim Gamel

Barbed wire and ‘paradise’: Here’s what it’s like to hike the new trail in the DMZ

Many South Koreans have flocked to a civilian hiking trail in a northeastern section of the Demilitarized Zone, a heavily fortified strip of land that divides the peninsula.

Troops happy but skeptical as US military suspends off-base curfew in S. Korea

U.S. Forces Korea, which oversees some 28,500 U.S. servicemembers on the divided peninsula, lifted the four-hour curfew for 90 days following a policy review ordered by the commander, Gen. Robert Abrams.


It’s official: US military lifts curfew for 90 days in test for troops in S. Korea

The U.S. military temporarily lifted a 1-5 a.m. curfew for troops in South Korea on Monday, saying the suspension will be reevaluated in 90 days.


N. Korea urges US to withdraw ‘hostile policy’ on eve of summit anniversary

Here’s a look at where things stand on the first anniversary of the first summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.


More than 300 North Korean execution sites identified by Seoul-based rights group

North Korea has summarily executed people on allegations ranging from stealing cows to political offenses, wielding the death penalty as an intimidation tactic, a rights group said Tuesday.


Skeleton believed to be US or French soldier found in DMZ, S. Korea says

The remains were unearthed Wednesday during an excavation project at the former battleground known as Arrowhead Hill, which is in the Demilitarized Zone that has divided the country since the war ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.


Eighth Army seals letters, challenge coins — even a CD — in time capsule marking 75th anniversary

A time capsule at Camp Humphreys will stay sealed until the Eighth Army's centennial.


Eighth Army celebrates 75th birthday at new base south of Seoul

With parachutes and cotton candy, the Eighth Army marked the 75th anniversary of its foundation with a weekend of festivities at its new home south of Seoul.


New 2nd Infantry Division museum celebrates Army’s history on Korean Peninsula

The museum — which has expanded its mandate to include the Eighth Army and the Korean theater of operations overall, in addition to the 2nd ID — officially opens Monday on Camp Humphreys after moving from its longtime home at Camp Red Cloud.


Seeking closure: American families get rare look at Korean War remains recovery site in DMZ

An unprecedented opportunity allowed families of servicemembers still missing from the Korean War to visit the site known as Arrowhead Hill, which sits in an eastern section of the heavily fortified border area that has largely been sealed off for decades.


China vows military action to protect interests in Taiwan, South China Sea

China’s defense minister on Sunday rejected U.S. criticism of self-made islands and military facilities in the South China Sea, accusing the United States of stoking regional tensions by deploying warships to the strategic waterway.


Shanahan says China’s actions threaten to destabilize region, calling them a ‘toolkit of coercion’

“No one nation can – or should – dominate the Indo-Pacific,” acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said in a wide-ranging speech at the annual Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore, which brings together defense chiefs and other dignitaries from 38 countries.


North Korea remains an ‘extraordinary threat,’ acting US defense secretary says

North Korea has neared a point where it could strike U.S. forces and other targets in the region, Pat Shanahan warned Saturday.


N. Korea says no new nuclear talks unless US changes its position

The statement was posted on the state-run Korean Central News Agency on the eve of President Donald Trump’s planned visit to Japan.


US body armor found with remains of Korean War dead at DMZ

Search teams have found 321 pieces of bone and nearly 23,000 items from soldiers who died during fierce battles in what would later become the Demilitarized Zone since April 1.


2nd ID welcomes new deputy commander for maneuver at Camp Casey

Col. Gene Meredith replaced Brig. Gen. Stephen Maranian in the position, which is responsible for overseeing the division’s training and readiness.


N. Korea accuses US of violating sovereignty by seizing cargo ship

North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations condemned the seizure of the ship dubbed the Wise Honest “in the strongest terms” during a rare news conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York.


Moon praises restraint in response to N. Korean missiles during meeting with top US commander

The U.S. and South Korea have sought to keep tensions from rising after the North conducted two short-range missile tests five days apart earlier this month.


N. Korea accuses US of ‘robbery’ for seizing cargo ship, demands its return

North Korea on Tuesday accused the United States of “robbery” for seizing a cargo ship and demanded the vessel’s return in the latest sign of rising tensions that threaten to scuttle nuclear talks.


Rare Asiatic black bear discovered in Korean DMZ, highlighting conservation potential

The photo of the bear, which was captured by a motion-sensor camera in October, emerged as the fate of the DMZ is in question amid efforts to improve relations between the two Koreas and persuade the North to abandon its nuclear weapons.


Missiles fired by N. Korea flew at relatively low altitude, military says

The two missiles fired by North Korea flew at a relatively low altitude, South Korea’s military said Friday, as diplomats struggled to prevent nuclear talks from unraveling.


North Korea fires two short-range missiles; Trump says 'nobody’s happy about it'

North Korea conducted its second missile test in less than a week on Thursday, prompting President Donald Trump to express doubt about nuclear talks with the communist state.


ANALYSIS

North Korean launch showed potential to reach Camp Humphreys, experts say

Did North Korea test a short-range ballistic missile over the weekend? Experts say it’s clear the answer is yes, despite South Korea’s refusal to confirm any more than the firing of “several short-range projectiles” including a “new type of tactical guided weapon.”


Analysis

North Korean live-fire drills raise pressure on US over stalled nuclear talks

The salvos came days before Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, was to travel to Tokyo and Seoul to discuss denuclearization efforts.


North Korea fires projectiles into sea in new challenge for US

North Korea fired several short-range projectiles into the sea off its east coast on Saturday, South Korea’s military said, dealing a new challenge to the United States over stalled nuclear talks.


Interest high as public tours resume on S. Korea’s side of DMZ village

Interest was high on both sides of the border as the U.S.-led United Nations Command reopened the southern half of the Joint Security Area for public tours Wednesday after a seven-month delay amid nuclear talks with the North.


GALLERY / VIDEO

Feral cats undergo mass sterilization surgery to control population at Yongsan

The so-called "trap, neuter, release" program was the culmination of a monthslong effort by a Yongsan resident, who noticed over 200 feral cats populated the soon-to-be vacated Army garrison in the heart of Seoul.


Tours to DMZ village to resume on southern side of Korean border this week

The popular tours to the Joint Security Area, which straddles the heavily fortified border, were suspended in October to facilitate efforts to demilitarize the buffer zone.


South Korea-based soldier dies while on leave in Maryland

Pvt. Courtney Shields, a signal support systems specialist from Bryans Road, Md., was found unresponsive Friday while on leave in her home state.


South Koreans celebrate summit anniversary, but N. Korea’s a no-show

For a few hours on Saturday, the truce village of Panmunjom was turned into an outdoor concert hall as South Korea celebrated the first anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit.


Analysis

N. Korean criticism raises concerns that scaled-back military drills have reaped little payoff

North Korea’s persistent criticism of joint military drills underlines concerns that the military changes made to facilitate diplomatic efforts to persuade the North to abandon its nuclear weapons may have harmed readiness with little payoff.


US, S. Koreans begin combined air force drills

The United States and South Korea have launched joint air force drills, officials said Tuesday, as the allies maintain efforts to keep military exercises low-key amid nuclear talks with the North.


US-led command approves S. Korea’s ‘DMZ peace trail’ plan

Seoul announced earlier this month that it planned to allow the public to hike on so-called “DMZ peace trails” in three areas near the border with North Korea.


Tours to Korean border area likely to resume soon on southern side, UNC says

Tours to the southern side of the truce village that straddles the border with North Korea are likely to resume “in relatively short order,” the United Nations Command said Thursday.


S. Korean president hopes for fourth summit with Kim Jong Un as soon as possible

Moon Jae-in met Kim Jong Un three times last year and also brokered nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang.


Analysis

N. Korea, US leave door open for diplomacy, but still no sign of middle ground

Analysts said that Kim Jong Un seemed to be officially rejecting the “big deal” approach while leaving room for more negotiations.


South Koreans get rare peek inside US base expected to become Seoul’s Central Park

For decades, Yongsan Garrison has offered American troops and their families all the trappings of home — but the military is planning to largely vacate the property and give the property to the South Korean government.


Military exchanges tune out TV news due to ‘divisive political nature,’ AAFES says

TVs mounted on walls in food courts and other areas on bases around the world frequently show a loop of news channels including Fox, CNN and MSNBC.


S. Korean leader will try again to bring Trump, Kim back to the table

President Moon Jae-in headed to Washington on Wednesday to begin another round of summit diplomacy aimed at reviving nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea.


South Korean parliament ratifies cost-sharing accord with US

The South Korean parliament overwhelmingly voted to ratify a $915 million military cost-sharing deal with the United States on Friday, clearing the final hurdle more than three months after the previous pact expired.


US military sends Black Hawks to help South Koreans battle forest fire

The U.S. military sent two Black Hawks equipped with water buckets Friday to help South Koreans fight a massive forest fire that has forced thousands to flee their homes northeast of Seoul.


American soldier doubles as speaking coach for North Korean refugee

Capt. Matthew McGoffin and Yuna Jung, a North Korean refugee who escaped to the South, worked as a team for about three months to prepare Jung for a speech contest organized by the nonprofit organization Teach North Korean Refugees.


Defense chief: US, S. Korea ‘building capability up’ with military exercises, not scaling back

Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan dismissed concerns that ending annual exercises known as Key Resolve and Foal Eagle in favor of lower-profile drills — seen as a concession to the North — would hurt military readiness.


Army allows soldiers to wear masks while in uniform when air quality is poor in S. Korea

Army regulations had previously barred most soldiers from wearing filtering masks in uniform. By contrast, the Air Force permitted masks when pollution hit a certain level.


US military increases security at S. Korea bases due to potential threat

Security measures were stepped up after American law enforcement officials notified U.S. Forces Korea of the potential threat by an individual against bases across the divided peninsula.


US may not see N. Korean attack coming if hostilities flare up, top commander warns

Gen. Robert Abrams told lawmakers that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets may be insufficient to detect a possible attack from the North if denuclearization talks fail and tensions begin to rise again.


First Army Wellness Center in South Korea offers health assessments, nutrition coaching

The facility, one of 35 Army Wellness Centers around the globe, opened this month as the military grapples with rising concerns about stress and obesity among the troops.


N. Korea sends staff back to liaison office after Trump reverses sanctions decision

The return, limited to four or five staffers, followed President Donald Trump’s decision to reverse plans to impose new economic sanctions against North Korea, which experts said was likely to be seen as an olive branch by leader Kim Jong Un.


Analysis

Moon’s inter-Korean agenda is collateral damage of US-N. Korea nuclear impasse

North Korea had a clear message for the South last week - it’s us or the United States.


N. Korea withdraws from border liaison office in blow to inter-Korean efforts

North Korea notified the South during a meeting Friday morning that it was pulling out of a liaison office that opened in September to provide a venue to discuss cooperation between the two Koreas.


Two South Korean companies to pay $127M in military fuel bid-rigging case

Two South Korean companies have agreed to plead guilty and pay about $127 million in a bid-rigging case involving fuel-supply contracts for U.S. military bases on the divided peninsula, the Justice Department said.


South Korean employee dies in apparent accident on Camp Carroll, police say

Kim Song-Cho, 66, a full-time employee with the Directorate of Public Works, died Wednesday while performing his job on the base. The incident is under investigation.


Moon meets with US spy chief amid stalemate over North Korean nukes

President Moon Jae-in, who is eager for peace with the North, has directed his administration to get Pyongyang and Washington back to the table.


US expects N. Korea to keep promise not to resume missile tests, Pompeo says

North Korea on Friday warned it’s considering ending nuclear talks and lifting its missile-testing moratorium. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded by saying that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally promised President Donald Trump that he would not resume missile or nuclear tests.


US, S. Korean militaries have eye on North after reports of new weapons activity

The U.S. and South Korean militaries are closely monitoring the North, officials said Thursday, as new nuclear weapons activity was reported after the summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un ended without a deal.


US soldiers wish for masks as air pollution smothers South Korea

Army regulations bar soldiers from wearing masks which cover noses and mouths to protect themselves from pollution, unless they have a certified medical condition that merits an exception.


Trump says he didn’t discuss ‘war games’ with N. Korea amid concern about military readiness

President Donald Trump denied that the order to cancel war games with South Korea was a concession offered during nuclear talks with the North, saying he “made that decision long ago” to save money.


Moon vows efforts to revive US-N. Korea nuclear talks as allies begin scaled-back drills

South Korean president said he will revive his role as mediator between the adversaries after last week’s summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed without agreement.


Army vet stranded in S. Korea flies home after mix-up over military service

U.S. Army combat veteran Tong Yi was prevented from leaving South Korea on Feb. 6 because he faced a decades-old accusation of draft dodging.


US, S. Korea officially call off annual military exercises amid nuclear talks with N. Korea

The decision to cancel Key Resolve and Foal Eagle had been widely expected after President Donald Trump reiterated his own antipathy for the drills, which he has called “very expensive” and “provocative.”


No deal: Trump, Kim end high-stakes summit without nuclear agreement

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to reach an agreement on nuclear weapons Thursday, with Trump saying he had to “walk away” from a demand to lift economic sanctions in exchange for denuclearization.


Analysis

N. Korean leader answers questions from foreign media as he projects new image during summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is showing confidence in his hold on power during his second summit with President Donald Trump.


Breaking News

Trump, Kim fail to reach nuclear deal during Hanoi summit

The two leaders met in the Vietnamese capital, eight months after their first meeting in Singapore, but they were unable to agree on a joint statement.


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Trump-Kim summit making its mark on Vietnamese capital

Streets of were teeming with activity this week as the Vietnamese capital prepared to host the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.


Trump, Kim begin second US-N. Korean summit on a positive note

The leaders expressed hope for a successful summit while facing pressure to deliver concrete commitments on denuclearization.


N. Korea could thrive like Vietnam if it gives up its nukes, Trump says

The president has frequently touted economic prosperity as an incentive for the North to denuclearize, dangling the possibility of sanctions relief and foreign investment in exchange for denuclearization.


ANALYSIS

Trump, Kim get second chance to make deal, but expectations low amid doubts N. Korea will surrender nukes

The two-day summit takes place against a backdrop of warnings from intelligence officials and experts that the North is unwilling to relinquish its nuclear weapons, which it sees as key to regime survival.


Families urge Trump to press N. Korea to return more remains of war dead

Three families have closure after North Korea in July handed over 55 boxes containing bones said to belong to American troops killed in the Korean War. But thousands are still missing, including fighter pilots shot down over enemy territory and soldiers taken captive on the battlefield.


N. Korean leader’s train snakes toward Vietnam as Trump says Kim will make 'wise decision'

The White House signaled expectations were low for a breakthrough in nuclear talks with the North as Trump faced pressure to come away from the two-day meeting with concrete commitments from Kim to “denuclearize,” a term that means different things to each party.


From mold to kids stuck in elevators, Camp Humphreys residents list housing woes

Residents of Camp Humphreys gave commanders an earful Friday during a town-hall meeting about housing woes on the U.S. military’s new headquarters base.


Yongsan starts new program to keep stray cats from moving in as the Army moves out

U.S. military officials plan to launch trap, neuter, release program aimed at slowing the growth of the stray cat population at Yongsan Garrison, an Army installation in the heart of Seoul.


N. Korean leader won’t give up nuclear weapons, prominent defector says

Thae Yong Ho, one of the most senior diplomats to flee the communist state, said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s strategy is to persuade Trump to essentially accept North Korea as a de facto nuclear power.


Two S. Korea-based soldiers found dead — one in barracks and another while on leave in Nebraska

Pvt. Claytun N. Cepeda was pronounced dead Sunday after he was found in his room at Camp Humphreys, while Pvt. Aaron Mitchell was found dead Feb. 5 while on leave in the U.S.


Stranded in Seoul: An Army veteran is stuck in South Korea over a military conscription mix-up

Tong Yi, a U.S. Army combat veteran from Ohio, is stuck in Seoul because he was on a watchlist for South Korean men who failed to serve their mandatory military service at home.



ANALYSIS

Trump's upcoming second summit with Kim raises hopes for ending denuclearization deadlock

Donald Trump said that he will meet with Kim Jong Un on Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam as his administration seeks to break an impasse in nuclear talks. He will face pressure to deliver specific commitments from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.