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

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump has not asked the Pentagon for options to reduce U.S. forces based in South Korea, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a statement on Friday.

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

“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 U.S. 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.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bernadette Baum

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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US-South Korea joint military drills
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US-South Korea joint military drills
South Korean amphibious assault vehicles throw smoke bombs as they make it to the shore during Foal Eagle, March 30, 2015.
US Marines and South Korean soldiers await further orders inside their armored vehicle, during a joint combat training exercise.
US Marines also train in South Korean vehicles. Here, US Marines run out from a South Korean LVT-7 during a joint landing exercise for Foal Eagle, in Pohang, South Korea, March 31, 2014.
US Marines move out with their South Korean counterparts.
US and South Korean Marines aim their rifles near their amphibious assault vehicles during Foal Eagle.
US Marines from 3rd Marine Expeditionary force deployed from Okinawa, Japan, train with South Korean soldiers in Pohang, South Korea.
South Korean and U.S. Marines take part in a winter military drill in Pyeongchang, South Korea, December 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A U.S. Navy crew member works on a U.S. F18 fighter jet on the deck of U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during an annual joint military exercise called "Foal Eagle" between South Korea and U.S., in the Sea of Japan, South Korea, March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Originally based on the M1 Abrams, the South Korean K1 tank is manufactured by Hyundai Rotem. The South Korean K1 tanks have a range of 310 miles and has a top speed of 40 mph.
Air assets, such as the US Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet, have also been utilized amid the drills.
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