U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration on Tuesday that he intended to end joint military exercises with South Korea took South Korean and U.S. military officials by surprise.
Trump also said he wants “at some point” to withdraw the American troops currently in South Korea.
“We have right now 32,000 soldiers in South Korea, and I’d like to be able to bring them back home. But that’s not part of the equation right now,” Trump said.
Asked about the plan to halt exercises, a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity shrugged and called it a political, not military, decision.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-military/trump-surprises-with-pledge-to-end-military-exercises-in-south-korea-idUSKBN1J812WA South Korean official said he initially thought Trump had misspoken.
“I was shocked when he called the exercises ‘provocative,’ a very unlikely word to be used by a U.S. president,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.