The report came as the US and North Korea are making plans for an unprecedented summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, to be held in May or June.
US and South Korean officials have maintained contact ahead of the Trump-Kim meeting, and President Moon is headed to the White House on May 22 to discuss related matters.
The Times report, which cited several unidentified officials briefed on the deliberations, said reduced troop levels were not meant to be a bargaining chip in Trump’s upcoming summit with Kim.
He suggested he was looking for the meeting – the first time leaders of the two countries have met since the Korean War – to be held at the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas.
Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In met late last month, and pledged to end the Korean War, now in a state of ceasefire since 1953.
File images of Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump.
Trump hinted that the release of Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim was in the offing, but again was sparing on the details.
The New York Times reported Friday that Trump requested plans from the Defense Department on reducing US troop numbers in South Korea.
South Korean aviation officials are still weighing the proposal, which was requested by North Korea in February, Philbin said. U.S. National Security Adviser called the story “utter nonsense”.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Thursday that if North Korea were to free the three Americans, “We certainly would see this as a sign of good will” ahead of the Trump-Kim summit.
Foreign policy experts said it is likely the North will release them as a goodwill gesture.
About this trump said on Friday, may 4.
The talks, expected by early June, would amount to a historic opening with the hermit kingdom. We now have a date.
However, D. trump did not specify exactly where and when the meeting is.
The hostage situation comes before a planned meeting between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. And later that day, speaking alongside Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari during a bilateral news conference at the White House, Trump revealed that American intelligence officials were also considering Singapore as a possible host country for the historic negotiations.