Withdrawing US troops from the Korean Peninsula will not be on the table of negotiations with North Korea, Defense Secretary James Mattis said during a Senate hearing on Wednesday.
“The presence of our forces there [South Korea] is a stabilizing presence… if during the negotiation this issue was to come up between our allies and us, that would be one thing between two allies, not a matter of negotiation with DPRK,” Mattis said. “That’s not something that would be on the table in the initial negotiations.”
The withdrawal of US troops from the Korean Peninsula is for the people of South Korea and the United States to decide, Mattis said.
Mattis had previously said in April that withdrawing US troops from the Korean peninsula would be discussed with allies if North Korea demanded it as part of reaching a peace agreement.