Trump's vow to end military drills with Seoul stuns a region


A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry said during a weekly briefing with reporters Monday that Iran views the Trump-Kim summit with "great pessimism", the Times of Israel reports.

In a later interview with the Voice of America, Trump said the North Koreas were "very happy" about his decision to freeze the exercises "because it is so provocative".

Trump's remarks contradicted decades of assertions by USA administrations that military exercises in South Korea are defensive and essential to ensuring that allied forces are ready at a moment's notice to fight the North.

But Trump told Hannity he thought his tough style paved the way for Tuesday's summit.

"We still look at Trump and the USA behavior with pessimism and we can not be optimistic about the USA behavior", Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Behram Qassemi said Monday, alluding to the USA president's dropping of JCPOA - the 2015 nuclear deal brokered by Barack Obama. "I think we just need to continue to be concerned about whether or not North Korea is going to stand by its word". "Sometimes I felt foolish doing it but we had no choice".

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Given Kim only repeated vague commitments to pursue the "denuclearization of the Korean peninsula", some observers questioned whether Trump was making overly drastic concessions.

Regarding Trump's surprise announcement that he would put a stop to regular joint ROK-U.S. military drills, Nam said the issue required discussion between the two countries.

"We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should", Trump said.

The joint declaration stated that the USA has committed to providing "security guarantees" to Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's motorcade arrives at the Capella Hotel.

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Trump said he wanted to remove the U.S. military presence from South Korea, though he provided no timeline. "He didn't fight it".

Trump also said in the interview he believed the North Korean leader would start to work toward dismantling his country's nuclear program "virtually immediately".

"We want to denuke the entire peninsula", Trump said.

Trump also made a point to say American college student Otto Warmbier - who died previous year after being imprisoned by the North Koreans for 15 months - "did not die in vain".

But on Tuesday morning Pentagon officials said they're still awaiting more detail from the White House.

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