Gen. Park Han-ki, left, chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his U.S. counterpart, Gen. Mark Milley, right, inspect an honor guard at a ceremony at the JCS headquarters in Seoul on Thursday to welcome the visiting U.S. military leader. [YONHAP]U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday en route to Seoul that Washington may “adjust” joint military exercises with South Korea depending on how diplomacy with the North unfolds, but it is not considering a reduction of U.S. troops on the peninsula at the moment. Esper, when asked by a reporter if there was a need for a reduction of U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula, replied, “I don’t think at this time. We maintain a highly capable set of forces on the peninsula, immediately off the peninsula. So we’re prepared for any contingency at any time.” However, on scaling down joint military exercises with Seoul, Esper said, according to a Pentagon transcript, “We will adjust our exercise posture either more or less depending on what diplomacy may require.” Esper arrived in Seoul Thursday to hold annual defense talks. He raised the issues as several top U.S. officials have visited Seoul amid tough negotiations over a defense cost-sharing… Read full this story
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