November 21, 2019 / 2:57 AM / 21 days ago

Pentagon chief says unaware of any threat to pull U.S. troops from South Korea

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam in Hanoi, Vietnam November 20, 2019. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

HANOI (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Thursday he was unaware of any plans to withdraw 4,000 U.S. troops from South Korea if talks on cost-sharing fail.

“I have not heard that,” Esper said during a trip to Vietnam when asked about a report in South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.

“I read articles in the media all the time that are false or inaccurate or overstated,” he said.

Asked if there was any threat to withdraw U.S. forces from South Korea if talks failed, Esper said: “We’re not threatening allies over this. This is a negotiation.”

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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