Seoul dismisses possible reduction of United States troops in S. Korea
04 May, 2018, 14:21 | Author: Angel Logan
Beijing, which has long backed denuclearisation of North Korea had maintained that it would like to work with the two Koreas and the United States for the signing of a definitive peace treaty.
In June, Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was arrested and held prisoner in North Korea, died just days after being returned to his family in the US while in a coma.
Another factor potentially complicating matters is the ongoing negotiation over military cost-sharing between Seoul and Washington. "It is literally the blood oath of the American people to South Korea".
Relations between China and North Korea have undergone a vast outward improvement following Kim's recent visit to Beijing.
Officials declined to say whether Trump was seeking options for a full or partial reduction of troops, although a full withdrawal was unlikely. According to an agreement between both nations, which expires in December, South Korea pays the US about one billion dollars annually.
The letter came amid reports that the White House was looking at Singapore and a facility inside the Korean peninsula's demilitarized zone as possible sites for Trump's anticipated meeting with Kim. His enthusiasm for the encounter - and the prospect of ending a almost 70-year military conflict between the two Koreas - has raised concerns that he may offer troop cuts in return for concessions by Kim.
"U.S. troops in South Korea are a matter of the South Korea-U.S. alliance".
Denuclearization efforts should "do no harm by taking into consideration the interests of all parties, including China", Da said.
For Trump, withdrawing troops would have multiple benefits, said Victor Cha, a Korea scholar at Georgetown University who was, for a time, under consideration to be ambassador to Seoul. He died soon after his return to the United States.
"But from the perspective of the U.S. -South Korea alliance", Mr. Cha said, "it would represent a major retrenchment".
An official peace treaty formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War, for example, might reduce the need for such a significant number of American troops to deter an attack from the North.
Kim, a South Korean-born USA citizen, has been held the longest.
"What will happen to US forces in South Korea if a peace treaty is signed?"
Moon's remarks followed a proposal from his special adviser Moon Chung-in on the withdrawal of USA forces in South Korea. "It will be hard to justify their continuing presence". The North and South agreed last week to work towards a permanent treaty to replace a 65-year-old armistice agreement at a landmark inter-Korean summit, in the latest glimmer of rapprochement between the nuclear armed state and its neighbours, reports AFP.
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