US Forces withdrawal from Korean peninsula won't be discussed with North Korea - Mattis
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, Sputnik reported.
"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.
Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returned to the US with three detained American citizens after talks with Kim Jong-un.
In April, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced that his country would stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as shut down a nuclear test site. Donald Trump had responded by saying that "big progress [was] being made."
After North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a historic summit, US President Donald Trump said that he would hold a meeting with the North Korean leader in "the coming weeks."
While the world is highly anticipating Trump's summit with Kim, the administration has not yet announced the exact time and location of it. The US president said, more information would be released in the upcoming days.