President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that the U.S. will stop war games on the Korean Peninsula, following his landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“We will be stopping the war games,” Trump stated, calling the exercises “provocative.”
“Under the circumstances that we’re negotiating a very comprehensive complete deal I think it’s inappropriate to have war games,” the president said, revealing details of his discussions with Kim. “It is something that (North Korea) very much appreciated.”
“The war games are very expensive; we paid for a big majority of them, we fly in bombers from Guam,” Trump added. “That’s a long time for these big massive planes to be flying to South Korea to practice and then drop bombs all over the place and then go back to Guam. I know a lot about airplanes, it’s very expensive.”
The president did not stop at war games, CNN reported. He also announced that he wants to pull troops out of Korea.
“I want to get our soldiers out. I want to bring our soldiers back home,” Trump told reporters, explaining that this would not be an immediate change. “But, that’s not part of the equation right now. I hope it will be eventually.” There are around 30,000 U.S. troops stationed on the Korean Peninsula.
The announcement caught South Korea, and potentially U.S. military off guard.
“At this moment, the meaning and intention of President Trump’s remarks requires more clear understanding,” the South Korean Blue House, the presidential office, said. “Regarding President Trump’s comment regarding ending of the combined military drills, we need to find out the exact meaning or intention behind his comments at this point,” a South Korean military official told NBC.
“In coordination with our [South Korean] partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defense … and/or Indo-Pacific Command,” U.S. Forces Korea spokeswoman Col. Jennifer Lovett told Stars and Stripes.
During the unprecedented summit, Trump and Kim signed a “comprehensive” and “historic” agreement promising North Korea improved relations and security guarantees in exchange for North Korea’s commitment to the “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” (RELATED: Here’s What Trump, Kim Jong Un Agreed To At The Summit)
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