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article imagePresident Trump opposes joint US-South Korea military games

By Ken Hanly     Aug 10, 2019 in Politics
Commenting to reporters on Friday, US President Donald Trump said he agrees with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un in opposing joint US South Korean war games. He said he has never been a fan because he do not like paying for them.
Trump agreed to halt exercises during earlier peace talks
When the peace talks began earlier, Trump agreed to halt the exercises. However, after the failed Hanoi summit it was decided to resume the exercises. The Hanoi summit was in February this year: 'The 2019 North Korea–United States Hanoi Summit, commonly known as the Hanoi Summit, was a two-day summit meeting between North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump,[1] held at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27–28, 2019. This was the second meeting between the leaders of the DPRK and the United States, following the first meeting in June 2018 in Singapore. On February 28, 2019, the White House announced that the summit was cut short and that no agreement was reached. Trump later elaborated that it was because North Korea wanted an end to all sanctions.[2] North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho asserted that the country only sought a partial lifting of five United Nations sanctions placed on North Korea between 2016 and 2017.[3][4]"
However, there is no indication as yet that new talks are to take place.
Kim no doubt requested suspension of exercises before new talks
Apparently, part of the letter to Trump that he praised objected to the exercises. North Korea sees the exercises as simulated invasions. Even though acknowledging Kim's position, Trump has not announced any change in US policy.
It is not clear why the decision was made to resume exercises
Some Pentagon officials have pushed for the exercises to be resumed, claiming the pause had weakened US combat readiness in South Korea. No doubt many of the hawks in the Trump administration also favor the resumption. It has never been made clear exactly why the exercises resume even though Trump opposes them. Trump often seems to be over-ruled by hawks in his government.
North tests missiles to protest against US North Korea games
A recent article notes: "North Korea conducted the latest in a series of missile launches Saturday to protest US-South Korean war games, just hours after US President Donald Trump expressed his own frustration with the exercises."
The White House so far has had no comment on the new rocket tests. A senior administration official said: "We are consulting closely with our Japanese and South Korean allies."
Trump said the missile tests were not important: "I'll say it again. There have been no nuclear tests. The missile tests have all been short-range. No ballistic missile tests, no long-range missiles."
More about US South Korean relations, North Korea US peace talks, Join US South Korean military exercises
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