Tensions between the US and North Korea that spiked last year when Trump and Kim were trading insults and dire threats have ebbed this year, but the North has not taken irreversible steps to give up the nukes it spent decades making and which it views as key to its security.
North Korea and the United States are finally going to be sitting down for high-level talks - some five months after their summit in Singapore.
Remarks about the Korean Peninsula by a top United States military officer have sparked debate over the future of the 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea.
A Thursday meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart in NY has been abruptly called off without explanation in another setback for the Trump administration's nuclear negotiations.
Instead of following through on that, in recent days North Korea has been criticizing the US over its sanctions, threatening last Friday to bring back its "byongjin" policy - advancing its nuclear arsenal and economic development at the same time.
Trump, in a free-wheeling news conference after midterm elections, said he was willing eventually to ease the pressure on North Korea.
Seoul's Foreign Ministry also expressed hope that the USA and North Korea can quickly reschedule a high-level meeting.
The development comes amid strained ties between South Korea and the U.S. over how to negotiate denuclearisation with North Korea.
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However, Ryder said the Pentagon "must be prepared to adjust as appropriate" if negotiations with North Korea advance, indicating that there could be changes to the military exercises with South Korea that are scheduled to take place next year.
Russian Federation said in October it was time to consider the possibility of relaxing the global restrictions against Pyongyang amid commitment expressed by North Korea's leadership to denuclearize of the Korean Peninsula.
"But I will say this, I will say this very simply - We are in no rush, the sanctions are on", he said. -North Korea dialogue, sought to play down the talks delay. -North Korea negotiations have completely broken down or "lost their momentum" because of the postponement.
Asked if he still plans to have the second summit, the United States president said, "Sometime next year, I would say".
While both the US and South Korea all want peace and stability in the Korea peninsula, there is a "fear" that fast-developing inter-Korean relations may get out of step with Washington, according to former USA officials and experts.
Pompeo, speaking Sunday on Fox News, said he was "not worried" about the North Korean demands and insisted there would be "no economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective".
"Keeping these things in sync is always a challenge", said former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel.
Cheong Wa Dae declined to comment on Dunford's remarks, but the presidential office reiterated Kim Jong-un's pledge, made during meetings with Moon and his top aides this year, that the North would not demand the withdrawal of USFK troops. "When the North Koreans are seemingly opening the door, then those differences in priorities and perspective can create tensions".
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