ABOUT A MILITARY PLANE – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Sunday that US troops would not leave South Korea, despite speculation that the US could reduce its presence in negotiations with North Korea.
"I'll say it again, I'm not making any news, the same thing – we're not going anywhere, it's not even a topic of discussion," Mattis told reporters on the plane en route from Singapore to Washington.
There was some confusion as to whether the US troop presence in South Korea of about 28,500 would be affected by the negotiations between the US and North Korea
The US wants North Korea to be completely denuclearized, and the North Koreans want, among other things, that US troops leave the peninsula.
Mattis said during a speech on Saturday in the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual defense forum, that US troops would not be there at the negotiating table on June 12, but suggest it in subsequent rounds of negotiations.
"Of course, if the diplomats can do their job – if we can Reduce the threat If we can restore confidence-building measures with something verifiable, then of course these problems can be between two sovereign democracies – the Republic of Korea and the United States – But this is not the topic here in Singapore on 12 December, and it should not be, "he said.
And Mattis also said on Sunday that the US military presence could be "reviewed" by the US in five years' time and South Korea
"If in five years, in ten years, it could be up for review, that would be between a democracy called the Republic of Korea and a democracy called the US, "he said
For the moment, he said, even more troops could go in.
"I saw the Canadian minister at breakfast this morning, I'm right behind that lieutenant-general, I mean, you – these nations are even putting people in. They're talking about bringing light infantry, other own troops, to show, you know, basically, that we all stand together, "he said.
Mattis also commented on Sunday, saying that alongside his Japanese and South Korean counterparts, the road to negotiations is "at best a bumpy road".
"You remember how we went crazy – & # 39; Oh, it's over … when a bad letter comes in. And immediately it's back on … Welcome to reality, you know" , he said.
"It's all on TV, and everything fits together and all," said Mattis. "I do not think they've ever been in an international negotiation, we obviously have more experience than so many people when they put it together, so yes, it gets bumpy."