March 4, 2019 / 8:08 PM / 6 months ago

Trump: didn't discuss military drills in meetings with North Korea's Kim

FILE PHOTO - North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump meet for the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, in this photo released on March 1, 2019 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Monday shot down the idea that he discussed curbing joint military drills with South Korea with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a decision he said could save the United States millions of dollars and has suggested would reduce tensions with North Korea.

“The military drills, or war games as I call them, were never even discussed in my mtg w/ Kim Jong Un of NK,” Trump tweeted days after he met with Kim in Vietnam in an attempt to reach a denuclearization agreement.

The Pentagon and the South Korean military confirmed on Saturday they were ending large-scale joint spring exercises. U.S. officials have long said the spring exercises, known as Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, would be reduced in scope as the countries embraced smaller-scale drills.

Last week, the summit between Trump and Kim was cut short after they failed to reach a deal on how far to grant sanctions relief in exchange for steps North Korea could take toward giving up its nuclear program.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Friday his country would continue to work with both the United States and North Korea to reach a deal. The United States and South Korea have suspended a number of military exercises since the first summit last year between Kim and Trump to encourage talks with North Korea.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Meredith Mazzilli

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