Having written about implementing the inter-Korean summit agreements on military aspects, we will now wait and see what effect this will have on the military cooperation between South Korea and the USA, either when it comes to staging joint military drills or reaching a new cost-sharing agreement for basing U.S. troops in South Korea.
Withdrawal of US armed forces from ROK
At the moment, this topic is one of the most controversial issues, being stirred up by the Trump opponents with dire warnings as “everything is lost, the US forces are on the verge of being withdrawn, the nation is falling apart and DPRK is poised to take over it all”. The US journalist Bob Woodward added fuel to the fire in his book “Fear: Trump in the White House” by writing that Donald Trump had intended to tweet about the withdrawal of 28.5 thousand US troops from South Korea. And only the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis managed to dissuade the US President from doing so, as North Korea could have interpreted such a statement as a declaration of war and a sign of an imminent strike, which could have led to an attack against South Korea and eventually nuclear war.
But in fact, during the meeting with Kim Jong-un on September 18, Moon Jae-in said that the issue of stationing US forces in South Korea depends on the decision made by ROK and the USA, irrespective of any declarations to end the war or peace agreements.
Then on September 26, in answering the question posed by the TV channel Fox News, Moon Jae-in stated that the presence of US armed forces on the Korean Peninsula would remain necessary even if North and South Koreas were to unite. When asked whether he wanted the US troops to leave the peninsula, the South Korean President replied that the presence of American forces in South Korea not only aided deterrence and containment of North Korea, but also played a crucial role in maintaining peace and stability in the whole Northeast Asian region. Even after the declaration to end the war is signed and the two Koreas are unified, the ROK President sees the need for a continued presence of US troops in Korea to ensure peace and stability there.