When Trump Met Kim

Elias Hubbard
June 13, 2018

On Tuesday, Trump and Kim announced an agreement committing the U.S.to unspecified "security guarantees" in exchange for the eventual denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

President Donald Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity Monday that his "little rocket man" brand of rhetoric from earlier this year made him feel "foolish" at times, but that it was all part of a grand strategy to get Kim Jong Un to the table.

Following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Trump said at a press conference that he will stop "war games" with the South, calling them "provocative and expensive".

The USFK also said it has yet to receive any direction on any potential change to troop levels.

The next scheduled major exercise, known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian and involving tens of thousands of troops, normally is held in August.

The remarks contradicted countless previous declarations by USA political and military officials over the years that the drills are routine, defensive and absolutely critical.

But US officials told AFP they were taken aback by the news, and Pentagon personnel spent the morning in meetings discussing what could amount to an epic shift in the US military's posture in South Korea. "We will provide additional information as it becomes available".

One South Korean official said he initially thought Trump had mis-spoke.

Added Trump: "So, I think the rhetoric, I hated to do it". -South Korean military exercises "provocative". However, there were no specifics offered on future plans, which will be a work in progress for the Trump administration if a deal is to be reached.

Now Iran is warning that the US could use the same tactics in its dealings with North Korea, with Qassemi saying Pyongyang should enter the gathering with "awareness".

"South Korea will have mixed feelings toward Trump's remarks", said Lee Il-woo, a director at Korea Defense Network in Seoul. The South Korean military seemed similarly surprised. "But at the same time it will worry in terms of the possible negative consequences, as the reduction could scare South Koreans".

China - historically North Korea's closest partner - has also sought a "freeze for freeze" agreement in which the exercises would be suspended in exchange for North Korea's stopping development of its weapons.

Trump and Kim met in Singapore on Tuesday for their countries' first-ever summit talks.

The exercises allow USA and South Korean forces to practice mobilizing soldiers in the event of conflict, and to run computer simulations to improve coordination between the two militaries.

The fact the two leaders have come face-to-face-the first time a sitting U.S. President and a North Korean leader have met-makes this a historic, if somewhat freaky, moment.

"His country has to be denuked, and he understood that, he fully understood it", Trump said.

He noted, however, that exercises could easily be restarted if needed. In its statement on the Singapore summit provided to The Daily Beast, the Department of Defense sidestepped the question, claiming USA "alliances remain ironclad, and ensure peace and stability in the region".

Ahn said for people who are not Korean, it's just an issue for the moment.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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