John Bolton: New York Times Report About Reducing Troops in South Korea ‘Utter Nonsense’

U.S. Marines from III-Marine Expeditionary Force from Okinawa, Japan, run on the snow to attend a joint military winter exercise with South Korean marines in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. More than 400 marines from the two countries participated in the Dec. 4-22 joint winter exercise in South …
AP/Ahn Young-joon

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton dismissed a New York Times story reporting that President Donald Trump was exploring the option of reducing the amount of troops in South Korea.

“The New York Times story is utter nonsense,” Bolton said in a statement to reporters on Friday.

The Times reported that Trump had ordered the Pentagon to draft options for drawing down American troops in South Korea.

But Bolton said that the story was not true.

“The President has not asked the Pentagon to provide options for reducing American forces stationed in South Korea,” he wrote.

Trump has spoken openly about getting foreign countries with a heavy American military presence to share more of the costs associated with their deployment.

In an interview with the Times in March 2016, Trump said that he would consider withdrawing troops from South Korea if they refused to increase their contributions.

“I would not do so happily, but I would be willing to do it,” he said.

But Trump has since built stronger ties after visiting the country in 2017 and building a relationship with President Moon Jae-in.  The White House also successfully announced a restructured trade deal with South Korea. 

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