- President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the US and South Korea would stop joint military drills after meeting Kim Jong Un.
- But the Pentagon and South Korea haven’t heard anything about it, even though China apparently has.
- US military forces in Korea have not received any direction to cease joint military drills, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
- The US has long resisted calls to suspend military drills, even when offered a freeze in North Korean missile and nuclear testing in return.
- It traditionally asserted that bilateral, planned, and transparent military drills are legal while North Korea’s nuclear program is not.
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday after meeting with Kim Jong Un that the US and South Korea would stop military drills – but it appears China knew about it before the Pentagon did.
US military forces in Korea have not received any direction to cease joint military drills, a spokesman said on Tuesday, Reuters notes.
The South Korean military issued a statement to NBC News saying: “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.”
Meanwhile, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said “Our suspension for suspension process is right and has been realised,” a BBC correspondent in China reported.
The US has long resisted calls from North Korea and China for a “suspension for suspension,” whereby the US would stop military drills in exchange for a freeze in North Korean missile and nuclear testing.
Historically, the US has asserted that the bilateral, planned, and transparent military drills are legal while North Korea’s nuclear program is not, so it would be blackmail to suspend them for Pyongyang.
“USFK has received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises – to include this fall’s schedule Ulchi Freedom Guardian,” US Forces in Korea Lt. Col. Jennifer Lovett said in a statement seen by Reuters.
“In coordination with our ROK partners, we will continue with our current military posture until we receive updated guidance from the Department of Defence (DoD) and/or Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM).”
This is not the first time an announcement from Trump has caught the military off-guard. When Trump tweeted that transgender US citizens wouldn’t be allowed to serve in the military, the Pentagon also had received no guidance.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.