Executive Intelligence Review


Trump Affirms Continued Suspension of U.S.-South Korea Military Exercises, Overrules Mattis

Aug. 29, 2018 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump sees no reason for major U.S.-South Korea military exercises to resume after they were suspended earlier this year to facilitate U.S. diplomacy with North Korea. He tweeted a “Statement from the White House” this afternoon:

“President Donald J. Trump feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese Government. At the same time, we also know that China is providing North Korea with considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertilizer and various other commodities. This is not helpful! Nonetheless, 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. Besides, the President can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses. If he does, they will be far bigger than ever before. As for the U.S.-China trade disputes, and other differences, they will be resolved in time by President Trump and China’s great President Xi Jinping. Their relationship and bond remain very strong.”

Trump’s statement overrules the announcement made yesterday by Secretary of Defense James Mattis at a press briefing. He said a number of times in response to questions, that there was no planning for continuing the suspension of exercises beginning next year. The suspension had only applied to large exercises while smaller scale exercises continued without let-up.

“They’ve never been turned off,” he said. “We turned off several to make a good-faith effort. We are going to see how the negotiations go, and then we’ll calculate the future, how we go forward.” This was taken by the news media, and even the Pentagon’s own news service (in a story that was later taken down), to mean that the large-scale U.S.-South Korean exercises would be resuming next year.