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Trump rules out resuming military exercises with S.Korea for now


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Washington, Aug 30 (IANS) US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that there is no reason to resume joint military exercises with South Korea for the time being, and insisted that China is not helping to ease tensions with Pyongyang.

"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 US-South Korea war games," Donald Trump said in a series of tweets that he termed "Statement from the White House".

"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" he added.

Pentagon Chief James Mattis said on Tuesday that there are no plans to suspend military maneuvers with Seoul next year, Efe reported.

During his summit with Kim in June, Trump announced that he would suspend what he calls "war games" with South Korea as a goodwill gesture in the context of the rapprochement with the North Korean government, which considers these military maneuvers a provocation.

This caused Washington and Seoul not to hold the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian manoeuvres, which normally take place in summer, but Mattis also said that the United States did not suspend "all" the military exercises it had planned with South Korea.

Trump’s statements do not rule out that such maneuvers could take place in 2019, but they do show that the president does not want to raise the issue at this time.

Speaking from the White House, Trump said on Wednesday that "things are going well with North Korea", even though his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, cancelled his trip to North Korea this month.

The President added that "part of the North Korean problem is caused by the trade disputes with China" of the United States, which he later emphasized in his tweets.

"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," the series of tweets by the President said.

"We also know that China is providing North Korea with considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertilizer and various other commodities. This is not helpful!"

However, he predicted that "in time" he will succeed in resolving these "differences" and trade disputes with China through his contacts with Chinese President Xi Jinping, because he has "a very strong relationship and bond" with him.

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