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Quick hit: Trump gives North Korea update in series of tweets

On June 12, 2018, in Singapore, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands after signing an agreement at the Capella Hotel. (Ministry of Communications Singapore/Zuma Press/TNS)
August 30, 2018

President Donald Trump on Wednesday night gave an update on the status of progress with North Korea, pointing out his “good, warm” relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, as well as China’s interference with progress on the Korean Peninsula.

Trump also mentioned the “war games” with South Korea and Japan, and that he could “instantly” restart them at any time if he wants to.

In a series of tweets, which he started with “Statement from the White House,” Trump said, “President Donald J. Trump feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese Government. At the same time, we also know that China is providing North Korea with […] considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertilizer and various other commodities. This is not helpful!”

“Nonetheless, the President believes that his relationship with Kim Jong Un is a very good and warm one, and there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts […] of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games,” Trump continued.

“Besides, the President can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses. If he does, they will be far bigger than ever before. As for the U.S.–China trade disputes, and other […] differences, they will be resolved in time by President Trump and China’s great President Xi Jinping,” he went on.

“Their relationship and bond remain very strong,” Trump concluded.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week seemed to open the door to holding future joint military exercises with South Korea.

“We have no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises,” Mattis said this week at the Pentagon during a press conference.

A decision had not yet been made about holding the annual drills as scheduled next year, Mattis added, saying, “We’ll make decisions on that in consultation [with the State Department].”

Trump last week asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel his upcoming trip to North Korea.

Trump sent a series of three tweets on Friday afternoon asking Pompeo to hold off, citing insufficient progress in denuclearization.

Pompeo had been slated to go to North Korea next week. It would have been his second visit there in two months.

Following the U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore this past June, President Trump announced that the U.S. would cease its “war games” with South Korea.

The drills are often viewed by North Korea as antagonistic and “rehearsal” for invasion of the country.