Trump says troop withdrawal ‘not on the table’ for negotiations with North Korea

Trump says troop withdrawal ‘not on the table’ for negotiations with North Korea
Kim Jong Un in South Korea (Image: YouTube screen grab via ABC News)

President Donald Trump stated clearly Friday that “troops are not on the table” when it comes to negotiations with North Korea.

“I would like to save the money — we have 32,000 troops there — but the troops are not on the table,” he explained in an informal exchange with the press on the South Lawn. The president’s statements come amid a whirlwind of conflicting reports on the future of American troops in Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed a shared desire to end the Korean War at their landmark summit on Apr. 27, leading some observers to ponder the possibility of a U.S. troop withdrawal should peace actually happen this time around.

Moon Chung-in, special adviser to the South Korean president, argued Monday that it would be “difficult to justify” the America’s military presence on the peninsula if a peace agreement is reached. “The U.S. military presence in South Korea is a matter of the U.S.-Korea alliance. It has no relevance to any peace treaty,” South Korean presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom revealed Wednesday, challenging Moon’s earlier comments.

Trending: FBI official confirms: Hillary Clinton private-server email records found in Obama White House

The president “has ordered the Pentagon to prepare options for drawing down American troops in South Korea, just weeks before he holds a landmark meeting with North Korea’s leader,” The New York Times reported Thursday. A source close to the White House revealed that troop withdrawal is something that could happen in the future, but “not until long after the nukes are verifiably gone,” CNN reported. (CNN’s report has since been updated.)

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton called the Times story “utter nonsense,” emphasizing that “the President has not asked the Pentagon to provide options for reducing American forces stationed in South Korea.” The Department of Defense, which has stressed that the U.S. mission in Korea has not changed, also reportedly rejected the Times’s questionable report.

South Korean National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong was informed by a White House NSC official that the reports of a possible troop withdrawal were clearly false, the Korea Herald reported, citing the South Korean presidential office. “A key official from the White House NSC has said the report is not true at all,” Yoon Young-chan, the presidential office’s chief press secretary, explained.

This report, by Ryan Pickrell, was cross posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

For your convenience, you may leave commments below using either the Spot.IM commenting system or the Facebook commenting system. If Spot.IM is not appearing for you, please disable AdBlock to leave a comment.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.

Commenting Policy

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please hover over that comment, click the ∨ icon, and mark it as spam. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.