Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was not surprised by President Donald Trump's call to end USA military exercises with South Korea and had been consulted beforehand, a Pentagon official said Tuesday.
"He was not surprised, he was consulted", Mattis's spokeswoman Dana White told reporters.
The defining motto of troops there is that they are prepared to "fight tonight", and joint drills are seen as the most integral component of that readiness. "However, the coordination with the South Korean military is absolutely critical".
"We have received no updated guidance on execution or cessation of training exercises - to include Ulchi Freedom Guardian". We did sanctions and all of the things that you would do.
In his interview with Cuomo, Rodman said the summit would leave Kim more familiar with Trump than ever before - but he added that he did not want to take too much credit. "That's not part of the equation right now. I hope people can put this behind", he added.
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Mattis has repeatedly stressed that any reduction in troops would be a decision that only Washington and Seoul could address.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday also released a statement on the DPRK-U.S. summit, describing the joint statement as "a historic event that has helped break down the last remaining Cold War legacy on earth". President Trump, Rodman said, is proud of him and thanks him a lot.
"Creating friction with a key ally with an issue like that may have been a mistake, frankly", he told AFP.
But there was little immediate clarity on what ending the exercises entails.
"There is no single change in the suspension of the South-U.S. joint military exercise compared to the past", Nam said.
But Daniel Davis, a retired army lieutenant colonel and fellow at the Defense Priorities military think tank, said suspending the drills would have no short-term impact on United States and South Korean military readiness.
North Korea regularly calls the military exercises preparations for a northward invasion, and numerous scariest stand-offs in recent years on the Korean peninsula have happened when the drills were being staged.
But Trump refused to endorse a communique at the G7 summit over the weekend that said participants were "guided by our shared values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and our commitment to promote a rules-based worldwide order". A favored USA slogan in South Korea is "ready to fight tonight".
"Our combined exercises are defense-oriented, and there is no reason for North Korea to view them as a provocation", said Marine Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, while announcing spring exercises in March. He characterized Kim as "not a dumb man" and "more like a big kid".