North Korean military conducts a "strike drill" for multiple launchers and tactical guided weapon into the East Sea during a military drill in North Korea, in this May 4, 2019 photo supplied by the Korean Central News Agency (Reuters/KCNA)

WASHINGTON — A newly tested North Korean short-range ballistic missile appears to be a copy of an advanced Russian design that could greatly improve Pyongyang's ability to evade U.S. missile defense systems, according to U.S. officials.

President Donald Trump, who has sought unsuccessfully for the last year to persuade North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons, has dismissed the new missile as "very standard stuff." But military and national security officials see a potential threat to U.S. forces and allies in northeast Asia.

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The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) anchors off the coast of Peru on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command's Enduring Promise initiative. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Bigley)

The Defense Department planned Friday to send a Navy hospital ship to help alleviate a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela as senior national security officials convened at the Pentagon to discuss military options for pressuring the country's president to step down.

Officials said the Comfort, a 1,000-bed vessel, probably would be sent off the coast of northern Colombia, near enough to treat refugees who have fled Venezuela.

An announcement is expected next week.

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U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Elliott Page

The Pentagon is permanently canceling the large-scale military exercises in South Korea usually held in the spring, U.S. officials said Friday, handing Pyongyang a long-sought concession only days after a summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un broke up without a deal.

The timing of the decision raised questions about whether Trump was giving away a major piece of leverage over North Korea, which has long denounced the exercises as provocative, and failing to get anything in return.

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President Donald Trump speaks about American missile defense doctrine, Thursday, Jan 17, 2019, at the Pentagon. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump called Thursday for dramatically broadening U.S. defenses against missile attacks, outlining a costly and scientifically unproven plan for developing lasers and space sensors to defend all of the United States' territory from ballistic missile threats.

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WASHINGTON — Pentagon officials are considering whether to keep U.S. troops along the southwest border an additional 45 days, potentially extending a controversial mission to assist the Border Patrol into next year, U.S. officials said.

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration plans to grant U.S. troops on the Mexican border the authority to use force to help protect Border Patrol officers, defense officials said Tuesday, a significant widening of a mission already criticized as politically motivated rather than a national security priority.

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