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>> We will be stopping the war games.>> Say that again, Mr. President? Officials from Seoul to Washington seemed blindsided Tuesday by President Donald Trump's announcement on the heels of his summit with Kim Jong Un. That the US would be suspending military exercises with South Korea. And nobody seems to know what that pledge actually means.
>> But we'll be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus, I think it's very provocative.>> Trump's choice of the word, provocative, especially baffling, appearing to mirror North Korea's own rhetoric on the exercises. A South Korean official told Reuters he was shocked, and initially thought Trump had misspoken.
Foreign policy correspondent Arshad Mohammed is following the story.>> The drills are done to keep US forces at sort of peak potential to be able to fight a war on the Korean Peninsula if necessary. If you don't do the drills, your forces don't work as well with each other and your forces don't work as well with other forces, like the South Korean forces.
So there's a fear that American military readiness will be eroded by stopping the drills.>> The US and South Korea have conducted regular military drills for decades. Often drawing an inflamed response from Pyongyang. US command in South Korea says it received no guidance to cease the drills. But the Pentagon later said Defense Secretary James Mattis had been consulted.
Trump spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday. And afterward, the White House made no mention of the drills. The move also sowing confusion on Capitol Hill. After meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, Republican Senator Cory Gardner tweeted that quote, regular readiness training and training exercises will continue on the Korean Peninsula.
Later adding that, war games will not, but he did not explain the difference. Trump's pledge to end the war games came after sending a broad agreement to denuclearize North Korea that's drawn flack for lacking specifics. Experts worry the drills are a lot to give up in exchange for no concrete concessions from Pyongyang.