ROK-U.S. News

Hundreds of strangers attend funeral of Korean War veteran with no known living relatives

Patriot Guard and VFW members salute as pallbearers carry Korean War veteran George R. Green to a pavilion at the Marion National Cemetery on Thursday. (The Herald Bulletin courtesy photo/Don Knight)

By:

ELWOOD — Hundreds of people from all walks of life gathered to honor the life of George Green, a Korean War veteran who died Dec. 5 with no known living relatives.

Veterans from as far away as Michigan, high school students and ordinary residents joined together Thursday to attend the funeral services for Green, 89, who was awarded the Bronze Star medal four times for his service in the U.S. Army.

The street in front of Copher-Fesler-May Funeral Home was lined with American flags with a member of the Indiana Patriot Guard standing vigil outside.

An overflow crowd gathered at the funeral home and at the conclusion of the service each veteran approached Green’s casket and gave the hand salute.

A long procession of vehicles made the trip from Elwood to the Marion National Cemetery for Green’s burial, where members of the Elwood VFW performed military rites complete with a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.

Pastor Rodney Ellis of First Missionary Baptist Church opened the service with a moment of silence for Green and all the men and women currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Ellis said Green had joined his parents in heaven and would be laid to rest with his brothers at the National Cemetery.

“He was a true patriot,” Ellis said. “He laid it all on the line to serve his country.

“You don’t win four Bronze Stars by not relinquishing your personal safety,” he said. “Through his reasonable service we don’t know how many lives he saved or warmed.”

Dawson said Green won a state championship while in high school for his singing and performed at many weddings.

“He was a quiet person,” he said.

Dawson noted that after Green was wounded in Korea, he returned to his unit.

“Winning four Bronze Stars is quite a feat,” he said. “Today he is not alone and never has been.”

Dorcas Floyd graduated with Green from Elwood High School in the Class of 1949.

“George rode his bike around town a lot,” she said. “We didn’t keep in touch but just knew George.

“He was a fabulous singer,” Floyd said. “He sang baritone in school. He was always a private person, even in school.”

She sometimes wondered what Green was doing over the years, knowing he had the venetian blind repair business.

“This is what I knew it would be,” Floyd said of the community’s paying honor to Green. “This is the way Elwood is, we always come through. This is so wonderful for him.”

Staff Sgt. Jason Truman, retired from the U.S. Army, drove from St. Joseph, Michigan, to attend the graveside service.

“I’m friends on Facebook who is a member of the Patriot Guard. When I saw him share this it was a no-brainer,” he said. “I just couldn’t image. I know what it’s like to have a life of service and come home and live in solitude. That was best for him.

“Four Bronze Stars, I would have driven to Florida,” Truman said. “You don’t put heroes in the ground every day. A hero like that someone should remember him.”

 From left, Pvt. Joshawah Gaar and Sgt. Megan Mason fold the flag for Korean War veteran George R. Green at the Marion National Cemetery on Thursday. Green, 89, died Dec. 5 at his home in Elwood (The Herald Bulletin courtesy photo/Don Knight)

Myla Nelson, an Elwood resident, was there with her 5-month-old son at the funeral home and cemetery.

“I just wanted to thank him for all his service and all the veterans,” she said. “I like to say thanks to those that have given their service. It’s very beautiful to see everybody coming together like this.”

Leon Richardson of Greenfield, member of Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association and a 20-year Army veteran, said they try to attend funerals for all veterans.

“He had family. We’re all here today,” he said. “It’s good that people try to do something for others, hard to find these days.”

Marcy Fry said she knew of Green most of her life.

“He was very quiet, but back in the day in the 1970s and 1980s he was a very good business person,” she said. “He would do things for anybody.

“This is such a blessing to see how we all came together,” Fry said. “We want to show our support. He was proud to serve but was a very humble man.”


©2019 The Herald Bulletin (Anderson, Ind.) – Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Article: https://taskandpurpose.com/strangers-korean-war-veteran-funeral

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Majority of S. Koreans support alliance with U.S., negative on defense cost-sharing demands: poll

This photo, provided by the South Korean Embassy in Washington, shows negotiators from South Korea and the United States holding a fourth round of talks on renewing the countries’ Special Measures Agreement on sharing their defense costs in the U.S. capital on Dec. 4, 2019. (Yonhap)

Yonhap News  |  By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (Yonhap) — A new survey of South Koreans shows that the majority of the population supports the country’s alliance with the United States, but rejects U.S. demands for a sharp increase in its contribution to shared defense costs, the pollster said Monday.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs conducted the survey from Dec. 9 to 11, the first time an American think tank has polled South Koreans on the contentious issue of how to share the costs of keeping 28,500 American troops stationed in that country.

According to the poll, 92 percent of those surveyed said they support the bilateral alliance. Two-thirds (63 percent) said the alliance benefited both countries, with 26 percent saying it primarily benefited the U.S. and 8 percent viewing South Korea as the primary beneficiary.

A majority (74 percent) said they support the long-term U.S. troop presence in South Korea, with 87 percent saying the troops contribute to South Korea’s national security either a great deal (47 percent) or a fair amount (40 percent).

However, many South Koreans held a negative view of Washington’s reported demand for a fivefold increase in Seoul’s contribution to shared defense costs next year.

The majority (68 percent) said South Korea should negotiate for less than the $4.7 billion allegedly sought by Washington. Of them, 60 percent favored paying less than 2 trillion won ($1.7 billion), while 30 percent favored paying between 2 and 3 trillion won.

About a quarter (26 percent) said South Korea should refuse to pay.

In the event that the two sides fail to reach an agreement, about half (54 percent) said the alliance should be maintained, but with a reduction in U.S. troops.

Another 33 percent said the alliance should be maintained and U.S. forces should remain at the current level. Nine percent called for keeping the alliance but withdrawing all U.S. troops. Two percent said the alliance should be terminated.

The results of the survey come a day before South Korean and U.S. officials are due to meet in Seoul for a fifth round of talks on renewing the cost-sharing agreement. The current deal expires at the end of the year.

The survey, which was funded by a grant from the Korea Foundation, was conducted in South Korea by mobile and landline phones among a representative national sample of 1,000 adults age 19 and over.

The margin of error was 3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

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Article: https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20191217000200325

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Top U.S. negotiator says U.S. ‘not focused on’ initial $5 billion demand anymore

James DeHart, the top U.S. negotiator in defense cost-sharing talks with South Korea, speaks during an interview with the press corps in Seoul on Dec. 18, 2019. (Pool Photo) (Yonhap)

Yonhap News  |  By Song Sang-ho

SEOUL, Dec. 18 (Yonhap) — The top U.S. negotiator in defense cost-sharing talks with South Korea said Wednesday that his team is “not focused on” its initial demand for a five-fold increase to US$5 billion in Seoul’s financial contributions to the upkeep of American troops here.

In an interview with the Korean press corps, James DeHart also pointed out that South Korea’s weapons purchases from the United States are an “important consideration for us in the burden-sharing context.”

DeHart and his South Korean counterpart Jeong Eun-bo held the latest round of two-day negotiations in Seoul but failed to narrow the gaps over how much Seoul should pay next year and beyond for the stationing of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK).

“The figure will be different from our initial proposal and probably different from what we’ve heard from the Korean side so far. So we will find that point of agreement,” the U.S. official told reporters. “($5 billion) is not a number that we are currently focused on in the negotiations.”

The initial demand has been a lightning rod for searing criticism here, prompting rallies against Seoul’s contributions to the U.S. troops and raising concerns that tensions from the negotiations over the cost-sharing deal, the Special Measures Agreement (SMA), could undercut alliance cooperation on other matters.

Asked whether Washington is asking Seoul to shoulder the costs for military operations that take place off the peninsula but still help defend South Korea, DeHart said that it is “reasonable” to share some of the costs.

“I think it’s a very appropriate discussion to have with the ROK whether they are willing to share in the large cost of transporting American service personnel on and off the peninsula and to be equipped to operate on the peninsula and to be trained to operate on the peninsula,” he said, using the abbreviation of South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.

“Because it is all about the defense of Korea,” he added.

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No more curfew for US troops in South Korea

U.S. Soldiers assigned to 121 Infantry Regiment, Gimlet Battalion, get briefed for the Force on Force exercise at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, Yeongpyeong-ri, Korea, April 6, 2018.(Spc. Elizabeth Brown/Army)

Military Times  | 

U.S. Forces Korea announced it was ending curfew for the nearly 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea effective Dec. 17.

The dreaded curfew, which forced U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula to remain on base, in their residences or hotel rooms from 1-5 a.m., was suspended on a trial run in June for 90 days. The curfew suspension was extended again in September for another 90 days.

“After assessing the curfew data and consulting with USFK leaders including component commanders, I decided to end the curfew effective December 17,” Gen. Robert B. Abrams, United States Forces Korea commander, said in a news release.

“The 180 day curfew suspension enabled leaders at all levels of the chain of command to recommend keeping the curfew, continuing the suspension, or ending the curfew. All recommended its termination,” Abrams said in the release.

U.S. Forces Korea said the curfew suspension trial run that ran from June to December was focused on “behavior, morale, readiness factors and the capability for USFK Service Members to maintain good order and discipline, at all times and under all conditions.”

In July, a U.S. soldier in South Korea allegedly attempted to steal a taxi and hit a Korean National Police officer. The soldier was allegedly out drinking with friends the night of the incident.

“Leaders are responsible for our Service Members on and off-post conduct; we are ambassadors of USFK, the United States and the US-RoK [Republic of Korea] Alliance to the Korean people,”Abrams said in the release.

“We have a solemn responsibility to keep readiness at its highest levels with a “Fight Tonight” posture, approach and mentality. Our capability and capacity to remain ready at all times is non-negotiable,” Abrams said in the release.

Article: https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2019/12/17/no-more-curfew-for-us-troops-in-south-korea/

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North Korea tests likely if they ‘don’t feel satisfied’: Pentagon chief

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on “U.S. Policy in Syria and the Broader Region,” at the Rayburn House office building in Washington, U.S., December 11, 2019. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert

Reuters  |  By: Idrees Ali

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday North Korea would likely carry out unspecified tests if they “don’t feel satisfied,” amid fears the two countries could return to the collision course they had been on before launching diplomacy.

Tension has been rising in recent weeks as Pyongyang has conducted a series of weapons tests and waged a war of words with U.S. President Donald Trump.

“We have seen talk of tests. I think that they will be likely if they don’t feel satisfied,” Esper told reporters traveling with him from Europe back to Washington.

He did not provide details on what type of tests may be likely but added he was hopeful about diplomatic efforts.

Experts say North Korea could restart intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) testing suspended since 2017, a move that would be seen as highly provocative in Washington.

“I’ve been watching the Korean Peninsula for maybe a quarter of a century now. So I’m familiar with their tactics, with their bluster and I think we need to get serious and sit down and have discussions about a political agreement that denuclearizes the Peninsula,” Esper said.

The U.S. special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, urged Pyongyang on Monday to return offers of talks, dismissing leader Kim Jong Un’s year-end deadline while highlighting Washington’s willingness to discuss “all issues of interest.”

“I would like to remain an optimist that we can keep moving forward with regard to negotiations because the alternate is not a positive (one),” Esper added.

On Sunday, state media said North Korea had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site aimed at “restraining and overpowering the U.S. nuclear threat,” a second such test in a week.

North Korea has put forward a year-end deadline for the United States to drop its insistence on unilateral decentralization by Pyongyang.

In a bid to help diplomatic efforts with North Korea, the United States and South Korea have postponed or scaled down a number of joint military drills.

Asked whether military readiness could be maintained while relying heavily on computer-simulated exercises, Esper said he was confident that readiness was high.

There were a number of things the United States could do with regard to training that fit between large-scale exercises and computer-simulated ones, he added.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Sandra Maler and Lincoln Feast.

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Maximum Pressure 2.0: How to turn the tables on North Korea

David Maxwell

North Korea has been warning for months that the United States only has until the end of the year to change its hostile attitude. If Washington does not make amends for its “betrayal,” Pyongyang may restart its nuclear tests and long-range missile launches. These accusations may ring hollow, yet North Korea is clearly comfortable making threats and setting deadlines.

President Trump made history by engaging Kim Jong Un in multiple rounds of unconventional and experimental top-down diplomacy, but North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs as well as its conventional and asymmetric forces remain as dangerous as ever. It is time for a new strategy – call it Maximum Pressure 2.0 – that puts Kim in a position where he must disarm or pay a heavy price.

North Korea is eager for relief from U.S. sanctions. The regime elite, military, and population have been expecting relief since the first Trump-Kim meeting at the Singapore Summit. At their Hanoi summit in February, Kim pressed hard for sanctions relief, only to discover that Trump was ready to walk away from the table. When Kim approved working-level discussions in Stockholm in October, his negotiators demanded the same thing, but to no avail.

Between the Hanoi summit and Stockholm discussions, North Korea conducted 12 short-range ballistic missile and rocket tests, including the launch of a submarine launched ballistic missile just three days before Stockholm. Kim continued demands for security guarantees and sanctions relief. Clearly, Kim believes that he is the one positioned to secure concessions by exerting more pressure. The response to Trump’s recent tweet seemingly calling for a summit, was Kim Gye Kwan and Kim Yong Chol making pronouncements that there will be no more “fruitless” summits until the U.S. makes a “bold decision” and provides concessions.

There are two assumptions that should guide the rethinking of U.S. policy toward North Korea. First, Kim Jong Un will only denuclearize if he determines that holding onto his nuclear weapons is more dangerous than of giving them up. The second is that Kim will continue to pursue the traditional North Korean strategy of employing subversion, extortion, and force to unify the Korean Peninsula under the rule of his “Guerrilla Dynasty and Gulag State.” In short, Kim will not change, but his fear and internally generated threats can be used against him.

In a new report from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), my colleagues and I lay out in detail how to accomplish this goal. It depends on maximizing the pressure on Kim Jong Un along five distinct but complementary lines of effort: diplomacy, military deterrence, sanctions enforcement, cyber operations, and information and influence activities. All these lines of effort will require close coordination between Washington and Seoul.

The diplomatic line of effort should promote the imperative of enforcing domestic and international law to stop the Kim regime’s illicit activities. Military efforts should enhance the readiness of the ROK/U.S. alliance, since Kim only respects strength. This will require greater combined training and other military activities.

The U.S. and its partners should expand sanctions to target the non-North Korean entities, banks, and individuals who facilitate Pyongyang’s sanctions evasion activities. A much more aggressive cyber campaign is also necessary because of the damage caused by the North’s “all purpose sword” of cyber activities as well the funds they generate through theft. Finally, a robust information and influence activities (IIA) campaign should work to drive a wedge between the Kim family’s inner circle and the country’s second-tier leadership and broader population. This last line of effort is essential, because only an internal threat can persuade Kim that keeping his nuclear weapons is riskier than giving them up. The IIA and diplomatic approaches must include a human rights component since Kim Jong Un denies human rights in order to remain in power.

Our new report proposes specific measures to ensure the effectiveness of each of the five critical lines of operation. It is effectively a blueprint for the White House and Blue House (Korean president’s residence) to employ once they recognize the current approach is incapable of delivering the long-promised breakthrough. That breakthrough never materialized, because a close personal rapport between the U.S., ROK, and North Korean leaders – while valuable on its own – could not change Pyongyang’s strategic calculus.

The Trump administration’s original maximum pressure policy, which persisted throughout 2017 and into early 2018, helped persuade Kim that negotiating was a better option than continued threats of “fire and fury.” Yet the pressure campaign lost momentum amid the fanfare of the Singapore and Hanoi summits and backsliding by China and Russia. This may be exactly what Kim hoped for.

A Maximum Pressure 2.0 strategy rests on the foundation of sustained pressure and military strength to support diplomacy. Pressure and deterrence are essential to the success of working level negotiations. Ultimately, however, the choice about North Korea’s future belongs to Kim. He can make the strategic decision to denuclearize (which also entails putting an end to his chemical, biological, and missile programs). If Kim makes the wrong choice, then Maximum Pressure 2.0 will weaken the north, and bring Korea one step closer to unification and a United Republic of Korea (UROK).

David Maxwell, a 30-year veteran of the United States Army and a retired Special Forces colonel, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), where he also contributes to FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power (CMPP). Follow David on Twitter @davidmaxwell161. Follow FDD on Twitter @FDD and @FDD_CMPP. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

Editor’s note: This is an Op-Ed and as such, the opinions expressed are those of the author. If you would like to respond, or have an editorial of your own you would like to submit, please contact Military Times managing editor Howard Altman, haltman@militarytimes.com.

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Military Times Article: https://www.militarytimes.com/opinion/2019/12/09/maximum-pressure-20-how-to-turn-the-tables-on-north-korea/

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South Korea releases pre-emptive strike video amid rising tensions

UPI  |  By Elizabeth Shim

Dec. 12 (UPI) — South Korea’s air force released a video of a simulated pre-emptive strike against North Korean weapons systems on Thursday, amid concerns Pyongyang could be preparing to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The video from Seoul’s military shows fictitious footage of the Global Hawk, a remotely piloted surveillance aircraft, detecting activity in North Korea, where the regime is seen setting up an ICBM on a mobile launch pad, South Korean television network JTBC reported Thursday.

The video then shows F-35A jet fighters being deployed. Their precision strike capabilities are depicted as being used against North Korea’s Hwasong-14, a North Korean ICBM first tested on July 4, 2017.

A voiceover in the South Korea video says the “glory of victory is promised under any circumstances” in the event of a pre-emptive strike against the enemy.

The simulation is not real, but South Korea retains 13 F-35A fighter jets. Global Hawk will be deployed to Seoul’s air force before the end of December.

Cho Se-young, head of public relations at South Korea’s air force, said simulations have previously been issued. On Thursday the video was released amid fresh tensions following what North Korea claimed was a “very important test” of a rocket engine at Sohae satellite launch pad.

North Korea condemned the United States on Thursday for holding a United Nations Security Council meeting.

Pyongyang’s foreign ministry called the meeting a platform for pressure building against the regime.

“We will never tolerate the United States for fostering the mood of pressure against North Korea by spearheading the U.N. Security Council public meeting that discussed our problem at such a sensitive time as right now,” the North Korean statement read, according to Yonhap.

“The United States took a stupid act like hitting at its own foot with an ax by holding the meeting,” the official added. “It has also given us decisive help in making up our mind clearly on which way we will take.”

On Wednesday at the U.N., U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft had warned ballistic missiles would not bring greater security for North Korea.

Article: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/12/12/South-Korea-releases-pre-emptive-strike-video-amid-rising-tensions/6281576154475/

Photo credit: South Korea is to deploy surveillance aircraft Global Hawk by the end of December. File Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman/UPI

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USFK Returns Land to South Korea

PA-001-19 | Dec. 11, 2019

United States Forces Korea and the Republic of Korea announced the return of four U.S. military sites and plans to initiate more returns from U.S. to ROK government control today.

Lt. Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach, USFK Deputy Commander, and Director General Ko Yunju, North American Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs presided over the 200th Status of Forces Agreement Joint Committee meeting at Camp Humphreys.

During this meeting, the finalized and permanent returns of Camps Eagle and Long (Wonju), parcels of Camp Market (Bupyeong), and the Shea Range parcel located at Camp Hovey (Dongducheon) completes the return of these four sites back to Korean control effective today. This marks the biggest land return of former U.S. sites to the ROK since 2015, and USFK has 13 additional completely vacated and closed sites ready for return now.

The SOFA Joint Committee also initiated the return process for Yongsan Garrison which reaffirms the U.S. commitment to the Korean people and the Korean government in the execution of the Yongsan Relocation Program.

As a testament to our ROK-US alliance, USFK remains committed to returning installations as expeditiously as possible to ROK government control in accordance with the 2002 Land Partnership Program, 2004 Yongsan Relocation Program and the provisions of the Status of Forces Agreement.

United States Forces Korea

Press Release: https://www.usfk.mil/Media/Press-Releases/Article/2037248/usfk-returns-land-to-south-korea/

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U.S. has never abandoned military options for N. Korea: Pentagon official

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) — The United States has never taken military options off the table when dealing with North Korea and has shown restraint not to respond to every North Korean provocation, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Heino Klinck, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, also warned that while the Pentagon has provided space for the State Department to use diplomacy to dismantle the North’s nuclear weapons program, that may not always be the case.

The comments came hours after North Korea threatened to take “prompt corresponding actions” should the U.S. use military force against it. U.S. President Donald Trump had hinted in London on Tuesday that the United States could launch military action if necessary.

The exchange reflected the frustrations both sides have felt amid stalled negotiations on denuclearizing North Korea in exchange for U.S. concessions.

This photo shows Heino Klinck, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, speaking at a conference on the South Korea-U.S. alliance at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on Dec. 4, 2019. (Yonhap)

This photo shows Heino Klinck, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, speaking at a conference on the South Korea-U.S. alliance at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on Dec. 4, 2019. (Yonhap)

“The military option was never taken off the table,” Klinck said in response to a reporter’s question at a conference discussing the South Korea-U.S. alliance. “I mean, the military exists to serve as a deterrent. It serves as a stabilizing force.”

North Korea has set the end of the year as the deadline by which the U.S. must show flexibility in their negotiations, suggesting it could otherwise return to testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“I think that North Korea also understands that if they were foolish enough to act aggressively, that there would be a very strong response from the alliance as a whole,” Klinck said.

South Korean and U.S. forces train in order to deter aggression, and “if deterrence fails, it is their role to fight and win,” he said.

The Pentagon has said it is supporting diplomatic efforts to denuclearize North Korea by suspending some military exercises with South Korea, including a combined air drill last month.

Klinck made clear that the allies remain ready to respond to any threat.

“We, the Department of Defense, have provided the space and intentionally so, for the diplomats of the State Department to do their work,” he said. “We have shown restraint by not responding to every single North Korean provocation, whether it was a rhetorical provocation, or something like a missile test.

“There may come a time where our response may be different, and where the lead for the State Department may switch to something else,” he continued. “It’s our role within the Department of Defense to give our civilian leaders options.”

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U.S. JCS official unaware of discussion of troop drawdown in S. Korea

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) — A U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff official said Wednesday that he is not aware of any discussion inside the Pentagon of a possible drawdown of American troops in South Korea.

Speculation of a possible reduction of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea has grown in recent weeks amid tough negotiations on how the allies will share the costs for the troops’ upkeep.

U.S. President Donald Trump added to the uncertainty on Tuesday when he told reporters in London that the benefit of continuing the U.S. military presence in its current state is up for debate.

This photo shows Rear Adm. Jeffrey Anderson, deputy director for political-military affairs for Asia on the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking at a conference on the South Korea-U.S. alliance at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on Dec. 4, 2019. (Yonhap)

This photo shows Rear Adm. Jeffrey Anderson, deputy director for political-military affairs for Asia on the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking at a conference on the South Korea-U.S. alliance at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on Dec. 4, 2019. (Yonhap)

“I know of no discussions within the Pentagon that talks about any type of drawdown in, reduction of forces or anything like that,” Rear Adm. Jeffrey Anderson, deputy director for political-military affairs for Asia on the Joint Staff, said at a conference discussing the South Korea-U.S. alliance.

“That said, we’re always assessing the effectiveness of our organizational structure,” he added. “That’s a continuous thing that militaries throughout the world do. But there’s certainly no discussions that I know of regarding a reduction.”

Trump’s comment on Tuesday came as Seoul and Washington have been negotiating a new cost-sharing deal for next year. The U.S. has reportedly demanded a fivefold increase in South Korea’s contribution to nearly $5 billion.

Trump said on the continued U.S. troop presence that he thinks “if we’re going to do it, I think it’s — you know, they should burden share more fairly.”

The comments suggested the U.S. president was using the threat of a troops reduction to clinch a favorable deal in the cost-sharing negotiations that have been under way in Washington Tuesday and Wednesday.

Last month, a South Korean newspaper reported that the U.S. is considering withdrawing a brigade from South Korea in the event that Seoul refuses to accept Washington’s demands for burden-sharing.

The Pentagon dismissed the report as having “absolutely no truth.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper also said he had not heard of such plans, adding, “We’re not threatening allies over this. This is a negotiation.”

Yonhap News  |  By Lee Haye-ah

Article: https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20191205000500325?section=national/defense

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