Singapore, June 12: After the one-on-one summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that the US military will freeze “war games” with its ally South Korea while negotiations between the two countries continue.
Trump said that the US was stopping “very provocative” and costly military exercises with South Korea to facilitate denuclearisation with North Korea.
“The war games are very expensive, we pay for the majority of them. Under the circumstances, that we’re negotiating … I think it’s inappropriate to be having war games,” Trump told a news conference in Singapore after his meeting with Kim Jong.
The US and South Korea are security allies, with around 30,000 troops from Washington stationed in the South to defend it from its neighbour, which invaded in 1950.
The joint military exercises held by them every year infuriate Pyongyang, which has long demanded an end to the drills and often responds with nuclear tests, which further intensify the tensions.
If fulfilled, the move would appear to be effectively an implementation of the “freeze and freeze” proposal promoted by China, under which the North would stop nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a halt to the military exercises.
Trump also said he wanted to withdraw the US troops stationed in the South, a move which may worry South Korea, as it has already appealed to the US president not to put their country’s security at risk.
Speaking after the historic summit, Trump said Kim Jong had made an “unwavering commitment” to the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula but sanctions against North Korea would in effect.
In the pact that came after an over four-hour historic summit between Trump and Kim earlier in the day, the two countries also committed to work towards the development of fresh relations and promote “peace, prosperity and security” in the region.
(With inputs from agencies)