“The reason I do not want military drills with South Korea is to save hundreds of millions of dollars for the U.S. for which we are not reimbursed,” Trump tweeted. “That was my position long before I became President. Also, reducing tensions with North Korea at this time is a good thing!”
The US President made the comments not long after having to quit his summit with Kim in the Vietnamese’s capital Hanoi.
There have been serious concerns among the president’s inner circle that the North Korean leader might be playing Trump by offering to scrap an aging nuclear facility for halting US sanctions.
Pentagon announced that cancellation of joint military exercises by Washington and Seoul is meant to “reduce tension and support our diplomatic efforts.”
“The Minister and Secretary made clear that the Alliance decision to adapt our training program reflected our desire to reduce tension and support our diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a final, fully verified manner,” the Pentagon said.
Trump’s two rounds of talks – in Singapore and Vietnam — have so far failed to bear any tangible results as Kim will not give in to abrupt denuclearization on the peninsula, a goal Trump envisages, hoping to get his hands on a Nobel Peace Prize.
But Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, has defended the move, downplaying potential risks it could pose to the US and its regional allies.
“I don’t see that there’s any real difference between … what the president decided in Singapore and now,” Bolton said of the drills. “It’s not like some new decision has been made. The president made the decision on the exercises back in the summer of last year, and those continue.”
The Trump-Kim 2018 summit marked the first such meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader in history.
Tensions escalated between the two countries after Trump warned to “totally destroy” North Korea during a speech to the UN General Assembly.