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US commander in South Korea says he supports plan to reduce DMZ outposts

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The top commander of U.S. troops in South Korea said on Wednesday he supports moves to withdraw some outposts along the fortified border with North Korea, despite the risks.

South Korea’s defense ministry has said it plans to reduce guard posts and equipment along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on its border with North Korea as part of efforts to reduce tension and build trust with its northern neighbor.

“I have some concerns about what that means militarily for the ability to defend along the Military Demarcation Line,” U.S. General Vincent Brooks told reporters on Wednesday.

But he said that the risk is “a reasonable degree” and the move represents a good opportunity to reduce tensions.

About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the Korean War, which ended in 1953 in an armistice that left the North Korea technically still at war with South Korea and the U.S.-led United Nations command.

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Besides serving as the commander of those troops, Brooks also commands U.N. forces, and in the case of war, would take command of South Korean troops as well.

Brooks said that his troops are finding “other ways” to maintain readiness in the absence of major military drills, which were canceled or delayed by U.S. President Donald Trump as part of a deal with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.

“I received no order to become unready,” he said. “Nobody told me to stand down.”

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When Trump announced the plan after his summit with Kim in Singapore in June, a spokeswoman for U.S. military forces in Korea said at the time they had not received any direction to cease joint military drills.

When asked on Wednesday if he had advance warning of Trump’s June announcement, Brooks said as a commander in the field he had no expectation that he would be briefed on the president’s plans.

“Orders come in many different ways,” he said. “So for a military commander it’s not a matter of debate, it’s a matter of implementation.”

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Brooks did not elaborate on how his command had adjusted to the changes in military exercises.

He credited the military presence in South Korea with “successfully” setting the stage for this year’s diplomatic talks with North Korea, and said he supports maintaining pressure on North Korea to prevent it from “backing up” on diplomatic steps.

Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Michael Perry


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Marvel reveals next star-studded superhero films at Comic-Con

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Marvel unveiled its bumper slate of new superhero movies Saturday, wheeling out a who's who of Hollywood stars and prompting a collective meltdown at Comic-Con as it ended frenzied speculation over the most lucrative franchise in film history.

Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Rachel Weisz were brought on stage in San Diego to join Marvel film stalwarts such as Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in the upcoming -- and sure to be multi-billion-grossing -- movies.

"I can spend 90 minutes talking about what we've done or I can spend some time talking about what we're about to do," said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, drawing rapturous screams from thousands packed into the world's largest pop-culture fan convention.

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Trump says minority congresswomen should ‘apologize to America’

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US President Donald Trump renewed his attacks Sunday on four Democratic congresswomen he launched xenophobic tweets against last week, demanding they apologize "for the horrible (hateful) things they have said."

"I don't believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country," Trump tweeted of ethnic-minority first-term Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley.

"They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said. They are destroying the Democrat Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!" the president tweeted.

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Internet shreds ‘obnoxious’ Liz Cheney after disastrous CBS interview cut short: ‘I’m a Republican and I’m embarrassed’

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Twitter commenters were appalled by the conduct of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) during her interview with Margaret Brennan on CBS, calling out the high-ranking GOP lawmaker for being downright "obnoxious" when asked to answer simple questions about President Donald Trump.

The interview, during which the combative Cheney chastised her host for not asking the questions she wanted to answer, was cut short by Brennan which led viewers to comment on how badly Cheney came across.

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