Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Mattis not surprised by Trump halting South Korea drills: Pentagon

Mattis not surprised by Trump halting South Korea drills: Pentagon

North Korea also serves as a valuable buffer state between China and USA forces in South Korea.

Ms Bishop described the summit as the first positive development involving North Korea in more than a decade, but said the test would be verification Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program had been destroyed.

Other current and former USA defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters they were surprised by the announcement and expressed concern about lowering the readiness of American military personnel on the Korean peninsula.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018.

Although Trump insisted at a post-summit news conference that "I think he really wants to de-nuke", the president was only able to cite a single unwritten pledge from Kim - to close a missile engine facility. Number one, we save money.

"I think Iran is a different country now than it was three or four months ago", he added.

Their signed commitment reaffirms an agreement struck between the leaders of North and South Korea.

Annual military drills between Washington and Seoul have been a major source of contention between the Koreas for years, and analysts have wondered whether their continuation would hurt the inter-Korean detente that, since an outreach by Kim in January, has replaced last year's insults and threats of war.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, in partnership with AP-GfK, conducts a regular survey on foreign policy that includes a series of questions about what actions Americans support or oppose the United States taking to pressure North Korea to stop building its nuclear weapons program. This could be part of USA efforts to ensure regime security for North Korea.

"We have received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises - to include Ulchi Freedom Guardian".

"There is no single change in the suspension of the South-U.S. joint military exercise compared to the past", Nam said.

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 USA president who thinks much less of the traditional alliance than his predecessors. Pundits gave obligatory acknowledgment of North Korea's human rights abuses but offered little criticism of why Trump didn't bring those issues up to Kim.

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