McCain: Trump halting Korean military exercises a 'bad negotiating tactic'

GOP Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril McCain calls on Trump to rescind family separation policy: It's 'an affront to the decency of the American people' Senate passes 6B defense bill MORE (Ariz.) blasted the Trump administration's decision to halt military exercises with South Korea as part of the ongoing negotiations with North Korea. 

"Suspending U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises is a mistake. Making unnecessary and unreciprocated concessions is not in our interests—and it is a bad negotiating tactic," McCain said in a statement on Thursday. 

Trump announced after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the United States will stop “war games” with South Korea “unless and until” negotiations with the North go poorly.

Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday that the Pentagon had “suspended indefinitely” large-scale military exercises with South Korea. 

ADVERTISEMENT
A U.S. official told AFP that “major military exercises have been suspended indefinitely on the Korean peninsula.”

Trump's comments sparked confusion among international allies and with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. 

McCain, on Thursday, also knocked Trump for calling the war games with South Korea "provocative" saying the president was "parroting Chinese and North Korean propaganda."

"I continue to hope that President TrumpDonald John Trump20 weeks out from midterms, Dems and GOP brace for surprises Sessions responds to Nazi comparisons: 'They were keeping the Jews from leaving' Kim Jong Un to visit Beijing this week MORE will be successful in his diplomatic efforts to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But we must not impose upon ourselves the burden of providing so-called ‘good faith’ concessions as the price for continued dialogue," McCain added. 

"It is North Korea—through its nuclear and missile programs, aggressive behavior, and egregious human rights violations—that poses the greatest threat to peace. And until North Korea takes concrete steps to change that, no concessions should be made, and the sanctions must continue," McCain continued.

The Defense Department holds two major joint military drills with South Korea each year. The next joint military drill with South Korea, scheduled for this fall, would be Ulchi Freedom Guardian.

Several administration officials told CNN that they expected the administration would announce the suspension of planning for the August drill as soon as Thursday.