Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

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

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

US military forces in Korea have not received any direction to cease joint military drills, a spokesman said on Tuesday, after US President Donald Trump said war games would be ended amid talks with North Korea.

The U.S. has stationed combat troops in South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 war and has used them in a variety of large-scale drills created to sharpen skills and test troops' ability to operate effectively with their South Korean partners.

"South Korea will have mixed feelings toward Trump's remarks", said Lee Il-woo, a director at Korea Defense Network in Seoul.

The Trump-Kim summit, unthinkable just a few months ago, is yet more vindication of the Cold War doctrine of deterrence where the capacity and threat to inflict pain augments the force of diplomacy, and can prompt "rogue" regimes to display a strong survival instinct. Observers say "complete denuclearization" falls short of the long-sought objective of CVID.

Trump said he wanted to remove the USA military presence from South Korea, though he provided no timeline.

"I mean, this is what we have, and this is where we are, and I can only tell you from my experience, and I met him, I've spoken with him, and I've met him", Trump said.

"In one, NK called the Chinese to tell them Trump agreed military exercises would cease".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke by phone with Trump for 20 minutes late on Tuesday, but an official readout of the call made no mention of military exercises.

"We've adhered to the position of considering [the halt] during the process of dialogue even in the past", he added, asking the outlets to refer to a previous statement from the Blue House.

Across a slew of Fox News shows, hosts on Tuesday lauded the president and trotted out a number of close Trump allies as guests to do the same.

"I think at the right time, he'll absolutely be coming to the White House, yes", he said.

About 28,500 USA troops are stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the Korean War, which ended in 1953 in an armistice that left the two Koreas technically still at war. Cory Gardner, Republican of Colorado, said Pence indicated that "exercises will continue", although Sen.

"He was a great young man", Trump said.

"At this current point, there is a need to discern the exact meaning and intent of President Trump's comments", Seoul's Defense Ministry said, adding that there have been no discussions yet with Washington on modifying drills set for August.

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