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When South Korean officials talk about the growing nuclear challenge from the North, they use red-alert phrases like "existential threat," "imminent danger" and "dagger at the throat".A few miles away at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, where U.S. troops are headquartered, a senior U.S. military officer offered a similar warning. These conversations illustrate why the North Korean nuclear issue may top the security worries of the next U.S. president. North Korea is a pitifully backward country, except in its nuclear and missile programs.Beijing then supported a U.N. Security Council resolution in March condemning North Korea and imposing sanctions, and Kim responded with a fifth nuclear test last month.Deterring the North militarily is what South Korea wants most from America.One face-saving approach would be secret, preliminary U.S. talks with North Korea that would lead later, in concert with China, to public talks about denuclearization. But there's no sign North Korea wants such a dialogue.
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