North Korea Drops Troop Demand, but U.S. dismiss idea - Whisper Eye

North Korea Drops Troop Demand, but U.S. dismiss idea

North Korea has dropped its demand that American troops be removed from South Korea as a condition for giving up its nuclear weapons, South Korea’s president said Thursday in presenting the idea to the United States.

President Moon Jae-in portrayed the proposal as a concession on the eve of talks involving the two Koreas and the United States.

 The North has long demanded that the 28,500 American troops be withdrawn, citing their presence as a pretext to justify its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But in Washington, the Trump administration privately dismissed the idea that it was a capitulation by the North because an American withdrawal from the South was never on the table.

Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director whom President Trump secretly sent to Pyongyang  two weeks ago to meet Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, did not ask him to take such a step, senior officials said.

The move could increase pressure on the United States to support negotiations between North and South Korea on a peace treaty that would end the Korean War.

While Mr. Trump gave those talks his blessing this week, officials said his ultimate goal is to force North Korea to relinquish its nuclear program.

A peace treaty, they said, should be signed only after the North has given up its weapons.

Mr. Trump has expressed excitement about his own planned summit meeting with Mr. Kim, but on Wednesday he said he was ready to bail out, before, or even during, the meeting if he concluded that diplomacy was not bearing fruit. He also said the United States would keep sanctions on North Korea until it ends its nuclear program.