Trump asks Pentagon to consider reducing US troops in South Korea

Ahead of his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, US President Donald Trump has reportedly ordered the Pentagon to examine the options for reducing US troops in South Korea.
Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Flickr

US President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to consider options for reducing the number of US troops in South Korea, The New York Times reported on Thursday, citing a number of sources briefed on the issue.

The report comes just weeks before Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, which is likely to take place at the demilitarized zone on the border between the North and the South.

Trump has argued in the past that the American military presence in South Korea has mainly protected Japan and has not prevented Pyongyang from becoming a nuclear threat.

Pentagon officials have reportedly expressed deep concern that reducing the number of US troops could weaken the American alliance with South Korea and raise fears in neighboring Japan.

Several hours after the New York Times report surfaced, National Security Adviser John Bolton denied it. Bolton commented on the publication and called it “utter nonsense” and said that “the President has not asked the Pentagon to provide options for reducing American forces stationed in South Korea.”

Bolton’s remarks were backed by Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, a Defense Department spokesman: “The Department of Defense's mission in South Korea remains the same, and our force posture has not changed. The Department of Defense remains committed to supporting the maximum pressure campaign, developing and maintaining military options for the President, and reinforcing our ironclad security commitment with our allies. We all remain committed to complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”



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