The U.S.’ Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, has stated that he does not intend to end joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.
The measures which were agreed upon during the recent Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have now been “indefinitely suspended” by the White House. According to experts, a falling out between the two nations has been a long time coming. Said experts have stated that Trump over-compromised during the summit and that North Korea showed very little commitment to denuclearizing.
Mattis was asked if the U.S. military intends to halt the drills if negotiations between the countries become more fruitful, and he replied:
“I do not have a crystal ball right, now. Let’s see how the negotiations go. Let’s let the diplomats go forward. We all know the gravity of the issue they are dealing with, and we will deal with supporting the diplomats as I have said repeatedly.”
The U.S. and South Korea planned a military exercise in August called Freedom Guardian. However, Freedom Guardian was suspended due to President Trump’s announcement after the summit in Singapore. It is unclear if the exercise will now be completed. Mattis has made it very clear that, while the U.S.’ military position remains the same, the country will now be willing to use military drills to pressure North Korea into negotiations.
When announcing the outcome of the summit in June, President Trump stated:
“We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should. But we’ll be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus, I think it’s very provocative.”
Trump also ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel his scheduled trip to North Korea in another effort to pressure the nation to denuclearize.
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