South Korea Bewildered By Trump Considering Cancellation Of Joint Military Exercises

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On Tuesday, South Korea, apparently caught by surprise that President Trump said he might suspend joint military exercises on the Korean peninsula, said it needed to ascertain the "precise meaning" of Trump’s statements.

According to Reuters, a spokesman for South Korea’s presidential Blue House stated, "At this point, we need to find out the precise meaning or intentions of President Trump’s remarks."

Trump said the exercises were “very provocative,” adding, “The amount of money that we spend on that is incredible, and South Korea contributes, but not a hundred percent. Number one, we save money. A lot. And number two, it really is something I think [North Korea] very much appreciated.”

As The Hill notes, North Korea “has repeatedly claimed that the drills are merely a pretext for a strike on the North.” Trump said on Tuesday there was a "special bond" between the United States and North Korea, asserting, “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. We’ve developed a very special bond.”

A spokesman for U.S. forces in Korea said no instructions to halt exercises with South Korea had been received, saying, "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).”

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