Washington, Mar 4: US President Donald Trump has said that the decision to scrap large-scale drills with South Korea was to save "hundreds of millions of dollars" and help improve relations with Pyongyang who has been long viewing it as invasion rehearsals.
"The reason I do not want military drills with South Korea is to save hundreds of millions of dollars for the U.S. for which we are not reimbursed. That was my position long before I became President. Also, reducing tensions with North Korea at this time is a good thing!" Trump tweeted.
Earlier on Saturday, United States and South Korea agreed to stop their 'Key Resolve' and 'Foal Eagle' series of joint exercises. Although some experts say it will likely weaken the allies' military readiness amid worries that tensions erupt again in the wake of the failed nuclear summit in Vietnam, the allies have rejected that assertion, saying that the cancellation of the exercises would be replaced by smaller training drills.
South Korean media have also reported that the annual command post exercises, previously known as Key Resolve, would be reconfigured under the new name "Dong Maeng" and would be held on March 4-12.
The long-anticipated second summit of Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was held in the Vietnamese capital on Wednesday and Thursday. Although the two leaders did not arrive at any concrete agreement at the summit, Trump praised progress in talks and said that negotiations would continue at the level of experts. He also noted that since North Korea was not willing to denuclearize the specific areas that Washington wanted, while seeking full sanctions removal, it was not appropriate to sign an agreement at this point.UNI