As North Korea was conducting multiple missile tests previous year and threatening to attack the U.S., Mr. Trump responded with rhetoric that was unusually aggressive for a U.S. leader.
Trump's surprise, nearly offhand comments, made during a news conference after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seemingly upended decades of the US defense posture on the Korean Peninsula.
"At this current point, there is a need to discern the exact meaning and intent of President Trump's comments", Seoul's Defense Ministry said, adding that there have been no discussions yet with Washington on modifying drills set for August.
The Pentagon has said the exercises are essential to alliance-building and military readiness.
It's debatable whether North Korea's commitment to recovering US war remains could count as a major win for Washington when Pyongyang would be simply returning to what it had been doing for years.
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The Pentagon was not immediately able to flesh out Trump's remarks about suspending drills, a move the US military has long resisted. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. 4.
"I was shocked when he called the exercises 'provocative, ' a very unlikely word to be used by a USA president", the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because it was a politically sensitive issue.
In a statement signed by both leaders, the countries agreed to the recovery of the remains and the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
"Well, I think without the rhetoric, we wouldn't have been here", Trump said of the summit. "The U.S.is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully, this will not be necessary".
Associated Press writers Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul and Gillian Wong in Beijing contributed to this report.
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