WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said that there’s no reason to spend a lot of money on military war games with South Korea, but he warned he could “immediately” relaunch the exercises again and they would “it is much bigger than ever before.”
Trump said Wednesday in a series of tweets that especially took aim at China, the blame for lack of progress in getting North Korea to end its nuclear program, the next president’s landmark summit with Kim Jong-Un in June.
But there was also a posted message for Kim: the mixing of an expression of goodwill to the North Korean autocrat with an implicit military threat that will add to speculation about the direction of Trump’s attempt at rapprochement with a former enemy.
“The president is of the opinion that his relationship with Kim Jong-Un is a very good and warm and there is no reason at this time to be spending large sums of money on the joint US-South Korea war games,” Trump said, citing what was presented as a statement from the White House. “By the way, the president can start with the joint exercises with South Korea and Japan, if he so chooses. If he does, they are much larger than ever before.”
Trump caught the military leaders by surprise in June, when he announced the suspension with the South, “unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along as it should.” He mentioned the drilling of costly and provocative.
The cancellation is an olive branch to Pyongyang, which has long complained that the exercises of the invasion of the preparations. Often the North has responded to the exercises with the own demonstration of military power, such as the firing of a new medium-range missile over Japan last year as a counter measure to drill.
Was there any hope that the gesture of the racks fall exercises would promote goodwill and help nudge the North in the denuclearization talks. But outside of the returning of the potential remains approximately 55 U.S. troops missing from the Korean War, and the continuation of the suspension in its missile and nuclear tests, there is little traffic from the North.
As a result, the U.S. last week dropped a planned trip to Pyongyang by Secretary of state Mike Pompeo, citing the lack of progress on denuclearisation, but the remaining open for future conversations.
As doubts grow in Washington and beyond about Kim’s willingness to relinquish its nuclear weapons, Trump is heaping blame on China, North Korea, its traditional ally and main trading partner. On Wednesday, the president accused Beijing of pressure on the North, because of the current tensions in U.S.-china trade relations, and also of providing North Korea money, fuel, fertilizer, and other raw materials, which he said was not helpful.
China cooperated with the united states last year in adopting tough international sanctions against North Korea and maintains it is still the enforcement of the restrictions established by the U. N. security council.
But in his tweets, Trump also signalled that the US has its own military means of exerting pressure on Pyongyang. His comments compound the confusing messages from the Pentagon over the past two days to revive speculation about the exercises.
On Tuesday, Defence Minister Jim Mattis told reporters the US possible to carry out exercises with South Korea in the following spring, after cancellation of a major exercise this summer. He said no decision has been made on when to resume military exercises, but his statements suggested the recent cancellation may not be repeated.
Several U.S. officials acknowledged Wednesday that the plan is for the future for the spring exercises, which are months of preparation.
“Routine planning continues for the major U.S.-ROK exercises on the peninsula in accordance with the normal exercise program planning cycle,” said air force Colonel Patrick Ryder, spokesman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, refers to the abbreviation for the South of the official name, the Republic of Korea.
Other AMERICAN officials also said preliminary work on the drilling is started, to notice that it is much easier to cancel a workout than it is to slap one together quickly. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations.
David Maxwell, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, said that the first plans for the exercises can begin up to a year in advance, including the financing, the planning and the movement of the troops and units that will participate. As time progresses, planners would nail down the war game scenario, and other details.
“We continue to make plans for exercises, but we can stop them on a dime,” said Maxwell, a retired Army colonel that there are five tours in Korea. “We can’t restart on a dime.”
He said that the risk of a further halt in the large drilling would be a reduction of skills and institutional memory between the South Korean troops and more than 28,000 AMERICAN troops that are there. “The longer we go without the exercises, the more risk there is that we will suffer significant challenges when there is a war,” Maxwell said.
US officials said Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces in Korea, has taken steps to mitigate any loss of the course by the plans of smaller exercises and staff drills.
A major challenge in Korea is that the bulk of the AMERICAN forces committed to only one year, so they rely on the summer practice to familiarize yourself with the South Korean army and of the manner in which the allied forces to coordinate and to work with them. Spring Foal Eagle drill is more expansive and includes fighter jets, maritime maneuvers, amphibious assault tactics and computer-simulated scenarios.