Trump dismisses need for U.S.-South Korean military exercises

Less than a day after his defense secretary said U.S.-South Korean military exercises might resume, President Trump said there is no need for them as his relationship with North Korea's Kim Jong Un is "good" and "warm."
By Rick Docksai | Aug 31, 2018
Less than a day after Defense Secretary James Mattis said that there are "no plans" to keep the suspension on joint U.S.-South Korean combat training in place, President Trump said that there is no need for any future "war game" exercises with South Korea. In a tweet bearing a White House statement, Trump insisted that his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is "good" and "warm" and that he is not concerned about preparing for war with the North at this time.

"The President believes that his relationship with Kim Jong Un is a very good and warm one, and there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games," the statement read. The statement went on to say that Trump can "instantly start the joint exercises again" if he deems it necessary and that "if he does, they will be far bigger than ever before."

Trump also threw barbs at China, whom he said is undercutting negotiations with North Korea over the North Korean nuclear program by supplying Pyongyang with "considerable aid," including fuel, fertilizer, and commodities. He segued into the ongoing U.S. trade dispute with China, which he said, "will be resolved in time."

Trump surprised his own defense leaders when he declared a suspension of U.S.-South Korean combat-training exercises. Many experts criticized the move as a premature concession to Kim, who had not yet made any binding commitments on giving up nuclear weapons in turn.

Trump administration officials said after the summit that a comprehensive agreement on de-nuclearization would emerge in future talks. But the process appears to have stalled, with the White House cancelling Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's upcoming trip to Pyongyang last week due to a lack of progress.

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