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Trump requests options for removal of US troops in South Korea, NYT reports

Posted at 10:44 PM, May 03, 2018

President Donald Trump has requested options for reducing the number of US troops in South Korea, The New York Timesreported Thursday, citing several people briefed on the matter.

The President's request of the Defense Department comes ahead of his highly anticipated sit-down with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea and South Korea recently held their own historic summit, which included an agreement on holding talks over denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and bringing a formal conclusion to the Korean War.

If the peace talks continue among countries, it could decrease the need for a US presence in the region, the officials told The New York Times.

When asked about the administration's current position on removing US troops from the Korean Peninsula, a source close to the White House told CNN that it is viewed as something that could possibly happen in the future but "not until long after the nukes are verifiably gone."

"That is the position," the source said.

The source, who is familiar with the administration's internal discussions, added that removing US troops is not something currently being considered as a bargaining chip but as a possibility should there be no need for them down the line.

Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said the department has "no information about any troop options being prepared for the President" on this issue.

According to The New York Times report, the officials would not say if Trump was seeking options on a partial withdrawal or a full withdrawal, but said the latter was unlikely.

CNN previously reported that South Korean President Moon Jae-in convinced Kim to hold the meeting with Trump at the demilitarized zone, according to a source.

An official with deep knowledge of North Korea's thinking on the matter said there is a "strong possibility" the meeting will take place at the DMZ, with some events possibly scheduled on the northern side of the military demarcation line.