‘Exercising is fun but very expensive’: Trump explains freeze on US military drills in Korea

‘Exercising is fun but very expensive’: Trump explains freeze on US military drills in Korea
Donald Trump cited exorbitant costs as the reason for halting “fun and nice” US military drills on the Korean Peninsula – exercises which Pyongyang viewed as a serious provocation.

Speaking at a press conference after his Hanoi summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the US president told journalists that US military drills in the region would not resume for now.

“I gave that up quite a while ago because it costs us $100 million every time we do it. We fly these massive bombers in from Guam,” Trump said.

“Exercising is fun and it’s nice they play their war games – and I’m not saying it’s not necessary, because on some levels it is – but on other levels it’s not. But it’s a very, very expensive thing.”

The US president added that he “hated to see” how “hundreds of millions of dollars” were spent on the drills.
“I thought it was unfair, and frankly I was of the opinion that South Korea should help us with that. We’re protecting South Korea.”

Trump then claimed that Seoul was just one of many nations which were taking advantage of Washington’s generosity.

“We’re spending a tremendous amount of money on many countries, protecting countries that are very rich – that can certainly afford to pay us and then some. And those countries know it’s not right but nobody’s ever asked them before, but I’ve asked them, and we’re gaining a lot of money.”

The Pentagon announced that a number of joint drills with South Korea were put on hold after landmark talks between Trump and Kim in Singapore last June. However, the Pentagon said that routine joint exercises would continue, but not on such a large scale.

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The drills have been seen as a major barrier to brokering a denuclearized, peaceful Korean Peninsula. Moscow and Beijing have suggested that Pyongyang suspend its nuclear weapon and missile tests in exchange for Washington giving up joint exercises with South Korea. However, Washington flatly rejected the proposal.

Trump said on Thursday that Kim told him North Korea will continue to halt missile testing, even though no formal deal was signed after their Vietnam summit.

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