Mattis not surprised by Trump halting South Korea drills: Pentagon


CBS News' David Martin reports that Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said Defense Secretary James Mattis "was not surprised".

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have sat down for unprecedented talks between the leaders of two long-hostile nations, as the world watches anxiously for signs of a peace deal and an agreement on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

"It is the case that we are prepared to make security assurances necessary for the North Koreans to engage in that denuclearization", stated Pompeo.

"To give Kim Jong-un some assurance that we're willing to meet him more than halfway".

Trump and Kim Signed Something in Singapore.

Even if agreement was reached on scrapping North Korea's missiles and nuclear weapons, Pyongyang would have to agree to a large number of global weapons inspectors being free to travel throughout the tightly regulated country to ensure compliance, Stoffer cautioned.

According to the joint statement, both sides also agreed to recover and return remains of soldiers who were killed or missing in action during the Korean War so they can be repatriated.

In a blockbusting press conference after the summit, Trump said the USA would halt military exercises with Seoul - something long sought by Pyongyang, which claims the drills are a rehearsal for invasion.

But conservatives in the South argued that any change to the exercises plans could lead to a weakening of the security alliance, the centerpiece of deterrence against the North's possible aggression.

"They are tremendously expensive, the amount of money we spend on that is incredible and South Korea contributes but not 100 percent which is certainly a subject that we need to talk to them about also and that has to do with the military expenditures and also the trade".

Abraham Denmark, a deputy assistant secretary of defence for East Asia affairs during the Obama Administration, said that the United States has previously cancelled military exercises with South Korea while attempting to negotiate with its neighbour to the north.

U.S. officials in South Korea had "received no updated guidance on the execution or cessation of training exercises", the Associated Press reports. "And then they said it was in North Korea, and then they found out it was a nuclear test, I said, I never heard of a Richter scale in the high eights".

Speaking later as he flew out of Singapore bound for the USA territory of Guam - towards which Pyongyang past year threatened to lob missiles - Trump said he meant to hold North Korea to its word on denuclearization.

Nam said Seoul welcomed the news that President Trump had "sufficiently expressed" his trust in Kim.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who has spent a significant time living and working in East Asia, told a group of defense reporters at a breakfast roundtable Tuesday morning that he was "surprised" and "troubled" by the announcement.

Following the unprecedented meeting in Singapore, Trump stunned observers when he said continuing the exercises routinely held between the US and South Korea would be "inappropriate" while Washington fleshes out a comprehensive deal with Pyongyang.

President Donald Trump, as the Inquisitr previously reported, did not shy away from praising North Korea's leader, claiming that he considers Kim to be a "very talented" leader who "loves his country", although he runs it "tough". If you have to have nuclear war to get Trump to fail, I think half of them are OK with that.

Tuesday saw the South Korean Presidential office say Seoul "needs to figure out the precise meaning and intention of Trump's comments".

Sailors from U.S. Navy position a power module during a biennial exercise conducted by military and civilian personnel from the United States and the Republic of Korea, as a part of the large Foal Eagle 2017 exercise off the coast of Pohang, South Korea, April 9, 2017.

USA forces in South Korea were also apparently clueless as to the decision to suspend the military exercises.

"It's too early to trust North Korea", said Shin Hyun-song, 63.

Trump also seemed annoyed that US bomber aircraft make six-plus hour flights from the Pacific island of Guam to the Korean peninsula as part of its exercise routine.