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US not seeking to reduce forces in South Korea, says national security adviser

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US President Donald Trump has not asked the Pentagon for options to reduce US forces based in South Korea, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a statement on Friday.

Bolton's comment comes after the New York Times, citing several people briefed on the deliberations, reported on Thursday that the US president was seeking options to curb the number of American troops stationed in South Korea military base.

"The New York Times story is utter nonsense. The President has not asked the Pentagon to provide options for reducing American forces stationed in South Korea," Bolton said.

Trump's potential moves on the Korean Peninsula come as the US president is poised to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

The Trump administration is also engaged in efforts to secure the release of three Americans imprisoned in North Korea.

Trump has said the US should consider reducing the number of troops in South Korea unless South Korea shoulders more of the cost.

Then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, before taking office as US secretary of state, met Kim last month and reported the North Korean leader was not demanding the withdrawal of all US forces as a precondition for a summit with Trump.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday the issue of US troops stationed in the South was unrelated to any future peace treaty with North Korea and that American forces should stay even if such an agreement is signed.



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