Several key congressional Democrats criticized President Donald Trump June 12 for announcing an end to joint military exercises with South Korea after his high-profile meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.); Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee; and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, all said that Trump got little concrete from North Korea in return for canceling the exercises.
It “is troubling that the president has agreed to unilaterally halt military exercises with South Korea without verifiable commitments from North Korea to denuclearize, while giving Kim the recognition he has long craved,” Leahy said. “So far, all we have seen is a photo op coupled with a few broadly worded commitments.”
Reed and Smith both said the exercises are vital to defending against North Korean aggression. Smith also said that Trump apparently suspended the exercises without consulting the South Korean government or providing guidance to U.S. Forces Korea.
Smith added that Trump “supported North Korean propaganda by characterizing the exercises, which have always been defensive in nature, as provocative war games.”
At a press conference in Singapore, Trump said that stopping the exercises “will save us a tremendous amount of money.” He indicated he would eventually like to bring U.S. troops home from South Korea but that that is “not part of the equation right now.”