June 12, 2018 / 5:28 PM / 6 days ago

Mattis not surprised by Trump halting South Korea drills: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was not caught off guard by President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was suspending military exercises with South Korea, a Pentagon spokeswoman said on Tuesday, adding he was consulted ahead of time.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the “Defense Department budget posture in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2019 and the Future Years Defense Program” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Pressed on whether he was surprised by the decision to halt the military drills, spokeswoman Dana White said: “There were no surprises.”

Other current and former U.S. defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters they were surprised by the announcement and expressed concern about lowering the readiness of American military personnel on the Korean peninsula.

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; editing by Grant McCool

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