"Greatest achievement" of summit was trust-building between Kim, Trump: Seoul

Wednesday, 13 Jun, 2018

"Well, I think without the rhetoric, we wouldn't have been here", Trump said of the summit.

"But again, as we learn from the past, North Korea will agree to take these steps, but you can't trust them ultimately to fulfill what they commit to", he said.

"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.

"I think without the rhetoric we wouldn't have been here".

A slight smile crosses Kim's face as Trump places a hand on the North Korean Leader's arm.

"We're not there yet", he said.

The U.S. had rejected such proposals in the past, but North Korea has declared an end to testing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and now Trump appears ready to end exercises while talks are ongoing.

Tuesday morning saw the South Korean President tell a cabinet meeting he "could hardly sleep last night" because of the Trump-Kim summit. "That's not part of the equation right now".

Ahn said for people who are not Korean, it's just an issue for the moment.

If Mattis was aware that Trump was going to announce a suspension of military exercises, he apparently did not share that information with the South Koreans or with the military organization most directly affected: U.S. Forces Korea. But, Koreans are anxious they could be affected by the summit discussion.

North Korea has called for an end to the exercises as part of the United States' ending its "hostile policy" toward the country.

"He's got a very good personality, he's amusing, and he's very, very smart", Trump said of Kim in the interview that aired Tuesday night.

Exercises with South Korea cover a range of eventualities, including drills with nuclear-capable bombers.

"There were no surprises", she said.

But Daniel Davis, a retired army lieutenant colonel and fellow at the Defense Priorities military think tank, said suspending the drills would have no short-term impact on US and South Korean military readiness. Cory Gardner told reporters that they were assured joint military exercises would continue.

U.S. Air Force Airmen watch an F-16 Fighting Falcon take off during Exercise MAX THUNDER 17's media day at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, April 20, 2017.

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said it was "troubling" that Trump had agreed to suspend joint drills without making any reference to North Korea dialling back its conventional military threat.