The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a 716-billion dollar defense policy bill that ensures there will be no significant reduction of U.S. forces in South Korea.
The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019 passed the Senate by a vote of 87-10 after clearing the House of Representatives last Thursday. The bill has now been sent to U.S. President Donald Trump to sign into law.
It stipulates that a significant reduction in the presence of U.S. troops in South Korea is “nonnegotiable” as it relates to the North’s complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.
In a conference report accompanying the legislation, Congress also prohibits the use of the funds to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Korea to below 22-thousand without certification from the secretary of defense that the move is in the security interest of the U.S.
The defense secretary would also have to certify that the reduction does not significantly undermine the security of the U.S.' allies in the region and also consult with the allies, including South Korea, on the matter.