Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Mattis: No Plans To Discuss That Thing Kim Really Wants From A Trump Summit
When President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un meet in Singapore on Tuesday, Kim is almost certain to press the United States to withdraw its troops from South Korea. But that is not an issue for North Korea to decide, said Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“That would be a discussion between two democracies: The Republic of Korea and the United States,” Mattis told reporters on Monday. “It’s a relationship between our leaders and those two countries. That is not something that other countries would have – I would say – initial domain over a discussion with us. We’re the only ones who make up our mind on this.”
The United States and South Korea are not currently talking about withdrawing any of the roughly 26,000 U.S. troops on the Korean peninsula, Mattis said at a Pentagon press briefing.
“That would be a discussion between two democracies: The Republic of Korea and the United States.”
When asked if removing U.S. troops from South Korea is one the topics that is on the agenda for the president’s meeting with Kim, Mattis replied: “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them out there. I don’t believe it is.”
Trump and Kim are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programs, but the president has cautioned that the summit is meant to mark the beginning of a dialogue between the two countries rather than the conclusion of negotiations.
“We’re not going to go in and sign something on June 12th and we never were,” Trump told White House reporters on June 1. “We’re going to start a process. And I told them today: ‘Take your time. We can go fast. We can go slowly.’ But I think they’d like to see something happen. And if we can work that out, that will be good. But the process will begin on June 12th in Singapore.”
Mattis declined to answer a reporter’s question about how he feels North Korea should be required to verify that it has destroyed its nuclear weapons as part of any agreement with the United States.
He emphasized that the U.S. government’s efforts to reach an agreement with North Korea are being handled by diplomats and he did not want to “say anything at all that makes their job that they’re responsible for more difficult.”
“If you’re going to say it’s diplomatically led, you have to allow the diplomats to frame the issue,” Mattis said. “They have to frame it in terms of time, in terms of the specific types of weapons – obviously, nuclear would be one, but there’s others that could be involved. My job is to find space to find solutions to support the diplomats. So you’ll never see me go ahead on something like that.”
North Korea has not tested a ballistic missile since November and it has not increased its military’s state of readiness, he said.
“All’s quiet,” Mattis said.
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.
VISTA —An Iraq war veteran who said he killed a stranger in Oceanside at the behest of a secret agency that controlled his brain was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The sentence for Mikhail Schmidt comes less than a month after a Superior Court jury in North County found Schmidt guilty of first-degree murder of Jacob Bravo, a stranger that Schmidt spotted, followed and stabbed to death on March 8, 2017.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Strongsville woman convicted of fleecing an ailing Korean War veteran out of much of his life savings was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison.
Latasha Wisniewski, 38, feigned a sexual interest in Charles Bauer in late 2017 by taking the 88-year-old widower to a plastic surgeon's office and asking him to pay for breast implants. She then withdrew more than $140,000 from Bauer's accounts over the following months, according to court records.
Mark Mitchell is stepping down as the acting assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, a position he has held since late June, a defense official confirmed on Tuesday.
No information was immediately available about why Mitchell decided to resign. His last day will be Nov. 1 and he will be replaced by Thomas Alexander, who is currently leading the Defense Department's counternarcotics efforts, the defense official told Task & Purpose.
The U.S. Military Academy identified a cadet who has been missing since Friday evening as 20-year-old Kade Kurita.
A search began for Kurita after he failed to report for a scheduled military skills competition around 5:30pm on Friday. West Point officials said in the Tuesday press release that he is believed to still be nearby.