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techkenyot.com October 20, 2018


Trump's vow to end US-SKorea drills catches Pentagon off guard

13 June 2018, 05:22 | Glen Norman

Trump's vow to end US-SKorea drills catches Pentagon off guard

Trump's vow to end US-SKorea drills catches Pentagon off guard

"I hope - but am not yet confident - that (North Korea) will take steps that match the concessions Mr. Trump has already made by ending military exercises in South Korea and granting Mr. Kim legitimacy with this summit", Thomas Countryman, a former acting under secretary of state for arms control under President Barack Obama, told Reuters. You know, we did sanctions and all the things you would do but I think without the rhetoric, you know, other administrations, I don't want to get specific on that, but you know they had a policy of silence. "Plus, I think it's very provocative".

Given Kim only repeated vague commitments to pursue the "denuclearization of the Korean peninsula", some observers questioned whether Trump was making overly drastic concessions.

"We're not there yet", he said.

Still, after the summit, Trump applauded the North Korean leader and said the people "love" Kim, regardless of Trump's previous remarks denouncing the regime's purported human rights abuses.

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Pompeo is scheduled to immediately fly to Seoul and Beijing after the summit to brief South Korean allies and Chinese officials on the discussions, reflecting the reality than any solutions in the region will need buy-in from those nations.

Trump surprised observers when he told reporters after the unprecedented meeting in Singapore that continuing the exercises routinely held between the US and South Korean militaries would be "inappropriate" while the United States works to flesh out a comprehensive deal with North Korea.

"President Trump believes that Kim Jong-un has an unprecedented opportunity to change the trajectory of our relationship and bring peace and prosperity to his country", he told reporters.

Exercises with South Korea cover a range of eventualities, including drills with nuclear-capable bombers.

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But Daniel Davis, a retired army lieutenant colonel and fellow at the Defense Priorities military think tank, said suspending the drills would have no short-term impact on US and South Korean military readiness.

Trump has now essentially adopted the standard North Korean line, calling the military exercises a "provocative" drain of money and announcing they would stop while he continues talks with Kim, whom he repeatedly praised as a solid negotiating partner.

A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry said during a weekly briefing with reporters Monday that Iran views the Trump-Kim summit with "great pessimism", the Times of Israel reports.

"What is most troubling about all this is that the US gave up something tangible, namely, US-RoK military exercises, in exchange", he added, using the abbreviation for South Korea's official name.

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A favoured US slogan in South Korea is "ready to fight tonight".



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