By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - The American general heading U.S. troops in South Korea tried on Friday to play down his earlier statement regarding a possible withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country.
"Presence [of U.S. Forces Korea] ... is not related to any potential declaration of an end to the Korea War or peace treaty," South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted Commander Gen. Robert Abrams as saying in a statement.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted in an interview Tuesday that President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may announce an end to the 1950-1953 Korean War in their upcoming summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, later this month.
The American general had stirred controversy after his statement to a congressional committee that "there was a possibility of the U.S. troop withdrawal -- or drawdown -- in the event that a peace treaty is signed with Pyongyang".
Abram’s statement had generated concerns in Seoul.
"The presence of [U.S. Forces Korea] is an alliance matter to be decided by separate dialogue between Seoul and Washington," Seoul said Tuesday.
"There have been no discussions or any plan about [a] withdrawal or any troop curtailment in connection with the signing of a peace treaty."