Trump: Military drawdown in South Korea was never on table with Kim

Trump says U.S. military drawdown in South Korea was ‘never on the table’ in summit talk with Kim

  • Trump: ‘Honestly, it was never discussed. I am sure he would like that. It was never on the table’ 
  • North Korean state media reported Trump pledged to stop joint military exercises with South Korea while a nuclear accord is negotiated 
  • But Trump said earlier this week the exercises would stop: ‘I want to stop that and I will stop that, and I think it’s very provocative’ 
  • He also complained the exercises are too ‘expensive’ 
  • The summit culminated in an agreement that commits the U.S. to offering unspecified ‘security guarantees’ for North Korea in exchange for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula 
  • The exact terms of the agreement remain unclear

President Donald Trump said a military draw down in South Korea was ‘never discussed’ when he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore on Tuesday. 

The president said there was no tit-for-tat deal with Pyongyang where there is denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula in exchange for an end to U.S. military exercises with South Korea. 

‘No, it is not drawing down at all,’ Trump told Fox News when asked about that part of his agreement with Kim. ‘In fact, honestly, it was never discussed. I am sure he would like that. It was never on the table. We sort of understood that was never on the table.’

The president added he’d love for the exercises to stop because they are expensive.   

President Donald Trump said a military draw down in South Korea was ‘never discussed’ when he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore

President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shake hands following a signing ceremony during their historic U.S.-North Korea summit

‘I would love to get the military out as soon as we can because it costs a lot of money and a lot of money for us,’ he said.

Trump spoke to Fox News’ Bret Baier on Air Force One after the summit concluded.

The meeting between the two world leaders in Singapore culminated in an agreement that commits the U.S. to offering unspecified ‘security guarantees’ for North Korea in exchange for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The exact terms of that agreement remain unclear. 

While Trump was flying back to Washington D.C. aboard Air Force One, North Korean state media began reporting its version of events at the summit, including an apparent pledge by Trump to stop joint military exercises with South Korea while a nuclear accord is negotiated.

State media also said that Trump agreed to lift sanctions and promised unspecified security guarantees.

And Trump told ABC News the U.S. would soon end or scale back longstanding joint military exercises with South Korea, and agreed that they were ‘provocative’ toward the North.

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He characterized them as ‘very expensive,’ however, and portrayed their end as an economic decision rather than a negotiated concession that the U.S. had previously said it wouldn’t budge on.

‘We stopped playing those war games that cost us a fortune,’ he told the network. ‘You know, we’re spending a fortune, every couple of months we’re doing war games with South Korea, and I said, ‘What’s this costing?”

Trump said, ‘We’re flying planes in from Guam, we’re bombing empty mountains for practice. I said, ‘I want to stop that and I will stop that, and I think it’s very provocative.’ 

Trump has been on a victory tour of sorts since he returned from the historic summit, where he was the first U.S. president to meet with a sitting leader from North Korea.

Trump declared that ‘there is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea’, in a series of tweets posted upon returning to the U.S. after his meeting with Kim. 

The president wrote that ‘everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office’ after the meeting, which he called ‘an interesting and very positive experience’.

The president has been on a victory tour of sorts since the summit wrapped

Trump told ABC News the U.S. would soon end or scale back longstanding joint military exercises with South Korea

‘Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!’ 

Trump held his longest news conference in 15 months in Singapore after his meeting with Kim.

He said Kim affirmed an ‘unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’ in a signed document. 

Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program will come to an end, he asserted, claiming that Kim had already left Singapore and was ‘on his way back’ to North Korea to begin implementing their joint vows.

‘I believe he’s going to live up to that document,’ Trump said after a day that included nearly 5 hours of face time with Kim. ‘Our eyes are wide open, but peace is always worth the effort, especially in this case.’ 

He had also flattered Kim as a ‘very talented man’ and said in a tweet that the autocrat has a legacy-making ‘opportunity to be remembered as the leader who ushered in a glorious new era of security & prosperity for his citizens!’ 

 

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