Singapore, June 2: US Secretary of Defence James Mattis said that the discussion on withdrawing or reducing US military footprint on the Korean Peninsula will not come up during the summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Any discussion about the number of US troops in South Korea is subject to its invitation and the discussion between Washington and Seoul, which is “separate and distinct from the negotiations that are going on with North Korea”, said Mattis on Saturday at the 17th Asia Security Summit, commonly known as the Shangri-la Dialogue, Xinhua news agency reported. “That issue is not on the table here in Singapore on June 12, nor should it be,” he said at the summit which opened in Singapore on Friday and runs through Sunday.
However, he said that “if the diplomats can do their work, if we can reduce the threat, if we can restore confidence-building measures with something verifiable, then, of course, these kinds of issues can come up subsequently between (South Korea and the US)”. Trump said on Friday that he will meet Kim on June 12 in Singapore as originally scheduled. In a separate session of the Shangri-la Dialogue on the same day, South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-moo also said the US forces in his country are a separate issue from the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. (IANS)