Photo : YONHAP News
South Korea said the United States Forces Korea(USFK) did not commit to maintaining its 28-thousand-500-strong troop level in the allies’ recent statement following a security dialogue due to Washington’s flexible adjustment of overseas troops.
In response to a question by the main opposition People Power Party(PPP) in a parliamentary audit on Monday, the Defense Ministry said the U.S. is adjusting its troop levels around the world in consideration of security situations.
This comes amid growing speculation of a possible USFK troop reduction after the level was not mentioned in the statement following the recent Security Consultative Meeting(SCM) though it’s normally included.
During the audit, Defense Minister Suh Wook said while such a policy directive is believed to have been delivered to the Pentagon, his U.S. counterpart Mark Esper pledged Washington's continued commitment toward the 1953 bilateral defense treaty.
Military experts in South Korea, however, speculate that the troop reduction is included in the flexible adjustment policy, with one expert saying that the U.S. has both explicitly and implicitly delivered its position to Seoul.