James Mattis

Mattis says US will keep current troop levels in South Korea

Carrying a clear message of reassurance to South Korea, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stated flatly Thursday that the U.S. will maintain its current number of troops on the Korean Peninsula, even as nuclear negotiations continue with North Korea.

Speaking alongside South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo, Mattis read a lengthy statement reinforcing America's "ironclad" commitment to Seoul, adding that "the U.S. will continue to use the full range of diplomatic and military capabilities to uphold this commitment."

His message appeared aimed at putting to rest any rumblings that the U.S. would pull its forces off the peninsula -- a possibility...