Trump talked out of pulling U.S. troops from South Korea

John Kelly, the Chief of Staff at the White House, persuaded U.S. President Donald Trump to not withdraw U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula ahead of the February Winter Olympics in South Korea. This was announced mere weeks ahead of a planned summit with Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump sometime in June.


NBC News says that two unidentified administration officials said that in one heated exchange between the two men, Kelly strongly and successfully persuaded Trump to halt the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula.


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The U.S. holds approximately 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy and relic of the Korean War that started in 1950 and ended in an armistice in 1953. There was never a peace treaty. Any decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the South would have wide- ranging effects, including on Japan’s security calculus.


In a statement released on Monday, Kelly blasted a report which he was also said to have privately disparaged Trump as an idiot last year, calling it total BS. He framed his relationship with Trump as incredibly candid and strong.


NBC said three White House spokespersons have down played the push to remove American troops from South Korea, saying they have not heard Trump talk seriously about the idea.


If true, the report comes after an abrupt announcement made by U.S. Secretary of Defense, Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, last Friday saying that the issue of keeping troops on the Korean peninsula would be discussed with America’s allies as well as with North Korea. A prospect unthinkable just months ago.


Kim met Moon on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone and Kim then invited his Southern counterpart to step into Northern soil. The DMZ is where the two agreed to achieve a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization.


Reference: Trump was talked out of pulling U.S. troops from South Korea ahead of Pyeongchang Olympics, report says


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