Threat

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - RE­MEM­BER­ING -

North Korea in the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, sug­gested in an in­ter­view that it’s “a lit­tle pre­ma­ture” for Trump to say Kim is some­one the U.S. can trust.

Freez­ing the reg­u­lar mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with South Korea is a ma­jor con­ces­sion to North Korea, which has long claimed the drills were in­va­sion prepa­ra­tions. Trump’s an­nounce­ment ap­peared to catch the Pen­tagon and of­fi­cials in Seoul off guard, and some South Kore­ans were alarmed. Trump cast the de­ci­sion as a cost-sav­ing mea­sure, but also called the ex­er­cises “in­ap­pro­pri­ate” while talks con­tinue.

Pom­peo said he was there when Trump talked about it with Kim, and the pres­i­dent “made very clear” that the con­di­tion for the freeze was that good-faith talks be on­go­ing. He told re­porters that if the U.S. con­cludes they no longer are, the freeze “will no longer be in ef­fect.”

Af­ter land­ing in South Korea, Pom­peo met for nearly an hour with Gen. Vin­cent Brooks, com­man­der of U.S. Forces Korea. The sec­re­tary of state is to meet Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in on Thurs­day morn­ing to dis­cuss the sum­mit. Ja­panese For­eign Min­is­ter Taro Kono also headed to Seoul and was to meet with Pom­peo and his South Korean coun­ter­part.

Pom­peo, the for­mer CIA di­rec­tor, then plans to fly to Bei­jing to up­date the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.

In Ja­pan, the prospect of can­celed U.S.-South Korean drills was met with con­cern.

“The U.S.-South Korea joint ex­er­cises and U.S. forces in South Korea play sig­nif­i­cant roles for the se­cu­rity in East Asia,” De­fense Min­is­ter It­sunori On­odera told re­porters Wed­nes­day.

He said he planned to con­tinue shar­ing the view with Wash­ing­ton and Seoul.

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