[rtl]America is in the process of reducing its forces in South Korea[/rtl]
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[rtl]The United States is considering a significant reduction of its troops in South Korea if Seoul does not contribute more to the cost of deployment, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported Thursday.[/rtl]
[rtl]Washington broke off defense cost-sharing talks with South Korea this week after Seoul demanded an annual increase to $ 5 billion, five times more than it now pays, in a rare public dispute.
Neither side has publicly confirmed the figures, but US President Donald Trump has said the US military presence in and around South Korea is worth $ 5 billion in protection.
"As far as I understand, the United States is preparing to withdraw one brigade if negotiations with South Korea go in a way that President Trump does not want," the paper quoted a diplomatic source in Washington familiar with the negotiations as saying.
About 28,500 US troops are currently stationed in South Korea, which is technically still at war with its nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean War.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he was not aware of any plans to withdraw 4,000 US troops from South Korea if cost-sharing talks failed.
"We are not threatening allies on this. It's negotiations," he told reporters during a trip to Vietnam.
The South Korean Defense Ministry said the report was "not the official position of the US government."[/rtl]