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.