US President Donald Trump says the United States was stopping “very provocative” and expensive military exercises with South Korea to facilitate denuclearization negotiations with North Korea.
The United States and South Korea hold regular military drills to the fury of North Korea, which has long seen the drills as preparations to invade it.
“The war games are very expensive, we pay for the majority of them,” Trump told a news conference on Tuesday in Singapore after a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“Under the circumstances, that we’re negotiating … I think it’s inappropriate to be having war games.”
Following Tuesday’s summit, Trump and Kim signed a document described by the American leader as important and comprehensive.
The document says the US and North Korea “commit to establish new… relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.”
North Korea also reaffirmed its commitment to working “towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a broad wording that could mean phased denuclearization in return for a number of potential American commitments along the way. Before signing the document, Kim said the two leaders had had a historic meeting “and decided to leave the past behind. The world will see a major change.”
The US president said he had formed a “very special bond” with Kim and that Washington’s relationship with Pyongyang would be very different.
Trump and Kim arrived in Singapore on Sunday to hold the first ever face-to-face meeting between leaders of the two countries, which have remained enemies since the 1950-1953 Korean War.
While the summit is seen as a test for diplomacy that could end the long-running nuclear standoff, foreign policy experts say the stakes are high if it does not result in a nuclear agreement.