The special foreign affairs advisor to President Moon Jae-in, whose remarks set off a firestorm of controversy has clarified that he was expressing his personal views as a professor, and they do not reflect Seoul's official foreign policy stance.
Moon Chung-in, a Yonsei University professor, said at a seminar late last week that U.S. strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula and joint military exercises could be downsized, if North Korea suspends its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
"I said earlier that it was my personal opinion. So it's not a matter of discussion."
He also explained Monday that negotiation is not a one-way street, but rather is about give and take.
Moon also explained that he gives opinions as a special advisor, who is not part of the government's decision-making process.
And on Monday, the Blue House said it sent a clear message to Moon that his remarks do not help Seoul-Washington ties.
A senior presidential official told reporters that such important decisions can only be made based on close consultations between the two allies.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.