The Pentagon believes the only way to make sure that all of North Korea's nuclear weapons sites are found and secured is a ground invasion, the Washington Post reported Saturday.
Officials are a lot less willing to make public what the implications of such a protracted ground war would be, saying an accurate assessment of the losses in such a war would be hard.
A report by the Congressional Research Service released last month estimates that as many as 25 million people on either side of the border, including more than 100,000 US citizens, could be affected by an escalation of a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
The US president, according to the newspaper, is "unstable".
North Korea's latest missile test in September flew over northern Japan before splashing into the Pacific Ocean.
Trump has accused South Korea in the past of not paying its fair share for the cost of USA forces in the country.
In June, the Treasury Department declared the Bank of Dandong a "primary money laundering concern" for serving as a gateway for North Korea to access the U.S. and worldwide financial systems despite USA and United Nations sanctions.
It offers lawmakers a classified briefing on plans the USA has in place to counter a chemical weapons attack from North Korea.
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There are about 18,000 civil defense shelters across South Korea.
Speaking to reporters on the plane, he disclosed he would probably be meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin during the tour. While they would offer protection against North Korea's conventional weapons, they are not created to withstand a nuclear or chemical attack.
The last time the two men met, at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, North Korea launched a missile over Japan.
Mr McMaster said President Trump would urge countries with the most influence over Pyongyang to "convince its leaders that the pursuit of nuclear weapons is a dead end" and that it must denuclearise.
On Sept. 3, the North also conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test by detonating what it said was a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The next stop was a golfing date with his "friend" Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan, with whom he enjoys a close personal relationship.
And while the foreign minister acknowledged that some of Trump's rhetoric had raised anxieties in South Korea, she stressed that her government was focused on the president's "overall tone". It also wants nothing short of full normalization of relations with the US and to be treated with respect and as an equal in the global arena.