Friday, May 4, 2018

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Trump orders Pentagon to consider reducing US forces in South Korea

US President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to prepare options to reduce the number of American troops in South Korea, just weeks before his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to several people briefed on deliberations.

Reduced troop levels are not intended to be a bargaining chip in President Trump's talks with Kim Jong Un about his weapons program but they acknowledged that a peace treaty between the two Koreas could diminish the need for the 28,500 soldiers currently stationed on the peninsula.

President Trump has been determined to withdraw troops from South Korea, arguing that the United States is not adequately compensated for the cost of maintaining them, that the troops are mainly protecting Japan and that decades of American military presence had not prevented the North from becoming a nuclear threat.

His latest push coincides with tense negotiations with South Korea over how to share the cost of the military force. Under the agreement that expires at the end of this year, South Korea pays about half the cost of the upkeep of the soldiers - over 800 million dollars a year. The Trump administration is demanding that it pay for virtually the entire cost of the military presence.

Source: New York Times

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