President Donald Trump has asked the Pentagon to look into reducing the presence of American troops in South Korea, The New York Times reported on Thursday, citing "several people briefed on the deliberations."
The sources didn't disclose whether Trump asked for full or partial withdrawal of U.S. forces, according to the report. But they said the president didn't put out the directive as a bargaining chip in his upcoming meeting with North Korea.
John Bolton, U.S. national security adviser, called the Times report "utter nonsense."
"The New York Times story is utter nonsense," he told CNBC. "The president has not asked the Pentagon to provide options for reducing American forces stationed in South Korea."
Trump is expected to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in coming weeks to push for the hermit nation's nuclear weapons disarmament.
U.S. troops have been stationed in South Korea since the conflict's armistice in 1953. A peace treaty between the two Koreas could reduce the need for the more than 20,000 American soldiers still stationed there, according to the report.
Trump has long wanted to withdraw American troops from South Korea, claiming that the U.S. hasn't been properly compensated for its military presence, the Times noted. South Korea, however, has said it wants U.S. troops to stay even if a peace treaty is signed with North Korea.