South Korea to seek ‘precise meaning’ of Trump’s plan to end war games
South Korea said on Tuesday that it needs to figure out the “precise meaning” of President Trump’s announcement that he would suspend joint military exercises on the Korean peninsula.
“At this point, we need to find out the precise meaning or intentions of President Trump’s remarks,” a spokesman for the South’s presidential Blue House said, according to Reuters.
Trump made the announcement after he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday for the first-ever face-to-face meeting between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean premier.
The two leaders signed an agreement that commits the U.S. to unspecified “security guarantees” in exchange for the eventual denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
In announcing that he would suspend joint military exercises in the region with South Korea, Trump did away with a sticking point for Pyongyang, which has repeatedly claimed that the drills are merely a pretext for a strike on the North.
But Trump also said Tuesday that he expects Kim to work “very quickly” to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal, and touted what he described as a “special bond” between the two countries.
“I think our whole relationship with North Korea and the Korean peninsula is going to be a very different situation than it has in the past,” Trump said. “We’ve developed a very special bond.”
Still, exactly when Trump would give a formal order to cease military drills on the Korean peninsula was unclear. A spokesman for U.S. forces in Korea said on Tuesday that directions to halt the exercises had not been received.
“In coordination with our ROK partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defense (DoD) and/or Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM),” the spokesman said in a statement, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
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