Trump ultimatum on Korean exercises contradicts Mattis, hits China challenges Kim

by WorldTribune Staff, August 30, 2018

President Donald Trump on Aug. 29 said the U.S. will not restart military exercises with South Korea.

U.S. President Donald Trump with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. / Getty Images

Trump said in a tweet, which he characterized as an official White House statement, that “The President believes that his relationship with Kim Jong Un is a very good and warm one, and there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games.”

The statement continued that the president “can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses,” and added that “if he does, they will be far bigger than ever before.”

Trump’s comments run contrary to those made this week by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who said the Pentagon planned to restart U.S.-South Korea military drills.

Mattis said the recent “good faith” halt in joint exercises on the Korean peninsula had failed to inspire Pyongyang to make any progress toward denuclearization.

South Korea on Aug. 29 said that U.S. officials haven’t yet engaged Seoul on whether or not to resume the exercises, Yonhap reported.

Trump’s statement came days after plans for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit North Korea were canceled.

Trump also tweeted that “North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese government. China is providing North Korea with considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertilizer and various other commodities. This is not helpful!”

Trump also went on to tweet that his “relationship and bond” with Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping remains “very strong.”

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