SEOUL – South Korea denied on Friday reports that US President Donald Trump had ordered officials to look into a reduction of troops stationed in South Korea amid the current climate of rapprochement and an impending summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The New York Times daily published an article saying that Trump had ordered the Pentagon to prepare options for reducing US troops in South Korea because a possible peace treaty on the Korean peninsula would lessen the need to maintain the costly military contingent.
In a statement to the media, South Korean presidential spokesperson Yoon Young-chan said that a representative of the White House’s National Security Council had said that the information was not true.
The South Korean presidential spokesperson said that the White House official denied the veracity of the article, which cited anonymous sources, during a meeting with South Korea’s National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong. He is currently in Washington to discuss Trump’s upcoming summit with the North Korean leader.
The two sides are expected to discuss the possible end of North Korea’s weapons program during the summit, which may be held at the end of May or in early June.
The meeting will follow the summit held a week ago between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, in which the two Koreas pledged to work to achieve the complete denuclearization of the peninsula.
They also promised to achieve the signing of a multilateral treaty to put an end to the technical state of war in the region following the Korean War of 1950-1953.