Top White House adviser Steve Bannon has said he would be open to a potential deal in which China persuaded North Korea to freeze its nuclear buildup in exchange for the removal of U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula.

In an interview published Wednesday by the American Prospect, a left-leaning website, Bannon said "he might consider" such a deal "with verifiable inspections," but noted that this kind of agreement "seemed remote."

South Korea currently hosts 28,500 U.S. troops that act as both a deterrent to North Korean aggression and a tripwire in the event of war, a scenario that would see forces in Japan, Guam and elsewhere sent into battle. Pyongyang has long sought a peace treaty with Washington — to replace the 1953 armistice — that would see the American forces depart the peninsula.