Trump: I requested halt to 'provocative' war games with South Korea

Trump: I requested halt to 'provocative' war games with South Korea
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE on Sunday claimed he requested to call off large-scale military exercises with South Korea amid negotiations with North Korea, saying the drills "set a bad light."

"Holding back the 'war games' during the negotiations was my request because they are VERY EXPENSIVE and set a bad light during a good faith negotiation. Also, quite provocative. Can start up immediately if talks break down, which I hope will not happen!" Trump tweeted.

Trump announced at his summit last week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the U.S. would be “stopping war games” on the Korean Peninsula amid ongoing talks with North Korea about denuclearization.

ADVERTISEMENT

The statement caused confusion among lawmakers and foreign allies, who were not clear on which exercises would stop and for how long.

Vice President Pence explained to lawmakers that the semiannual war games would stop as long as North Korea follows through on efforts to denuclearize, but “regular readiness training” would continue.

The decision also rattled Pentagon officials, who did not anticipate the news or have a strong role at the summit itself.

Twice a year, the U.S. and South Korea typically hold "war games," in which thousands of troops from each country assemble for military drills. Readiness training occurs fairly regularly, with troops gathered in smaller numbers.

North Korea has long labeled the larger exercises as acts of aggression. 

Democrats and some Republicans have criticized Trump's decision to halt war games amid talks with North Korea, calling it an unnecessary concession. However, administration officials have argued that the exercises can pick back up if negotiations go awry.