Trump’s vow to end military drills with Seoul stuns a region

  • Trump’s vow to end military drills with Seoul stuns a region

Trump’s vow to end military drills with Seoul stuns a region

Moon Seong Mook, a former South Korean military official, said Trump's comments on the drills confirmed what many in South Korea had feared all along - that North Korea would attempt to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul and gain substantial concessions from an unconventional US president who thinks much less of the traditional alliance than his predecessors.

"USFK has received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises - to include this fall's schedule Ulchi Freedom Guardian", US Forces in Korea lieutenant-colonel Jennifer Lovett said in a statement.

Colonel Rob Manning, another spokesperson, said: "We are going to be aligned with the president", while noting that the readiness of U.S. forces would remain "paramout".

"I'm very optimistic that we will have a successful outcome from our meetings tomorrow", he said.

The pledge, absent from the joint statement Trump signed with Kim, appeared to come as news to both South Korea and the Pentagon.

Whether the unpredictable North Korean leader will follow through remains unclear, but Trump sounded optimistic as he left the summit. "That's not part of the equation right now".

U.S. President Donald Trump's declaration on Tuesday that he meant to end joint military exercises in Korea seemed to be news to both South Korean and U.S. military officials.

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.

And what "exactly was the president committing to?" he added.

North Korea has called for an end to the exercises as part of the United States' ending its "hostile policy" toward the country.

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. -South Korean military exercises "provocative".

The president said he and Kim "got along very well" from "the beginning" of the summit.

"It feels like there is a big change coming with this", she said.

"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.

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.

USA officials and the North Korean state news agency struck a hopeful tone as the meeting approached, while negotiators from both countries met privately in the last hours to iron out agreements, such as over the definition of denuclearisation and the terms under which Pyongyang might agree to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.