South Korea to keep US troops even with peace treaty

President Moon Jae-in rejects link between American military presence and North Korea deal
SEOUL: South Korean President Moon Jae-in denied Wednesday that U.S. troops would leave the peninsula in the expected event of a peace treaty being signed with North Korea.
“(It) is a matter of the South Korea-U.S. alliance. It has nothing to do with signing a peace treaty,” Moon was quoted as saying by his spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom, according to local news agency Yonhap.
Moon’s clarification comes after one of his special security advisors suggested publicly earlier this week that it would be “difficult to justify” keeping American troops in Korea in the event of an official peace declaration.
Last Friday’s first inter-Korean summit in over a decade produced a commitment by the North’s leader Kim Jong-un to formally end the Korean War and to denuclearize.
Both issues are expected to be discussed in more detail when Kim holds talks with U.S. President Donald Trump as early as this month, while the North Korean leader made no known mention of the American military in his meeting with Moon last week.
The U.S. has around 30,000 troops in the South — a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which only closed with a ceasefire agreement.
“The government’s position is that the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) is playing the role of a mediator between major powers surrounding the country, such as China and Japan. It is the government’s stance that the USFK is needed,” a Seoul presidential official explained separately to reporters on the condition of anonymity.–AA

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