In a move that has surprised the world, and members of his own Republican party, President Donald Trump has called for the halt of military exercises that the United States conducts on a regular basis with South Korea. Saying that these exercises were expensive and “provocative” Trump declared that as a result of his amicable meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in Singapore yesterday, he wished to pursue a path of denuclearization, where the halting of war games in the region was part of the guarantees that the US had made to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).
The call to end war games, while greeted warmly by North Korea who has long called for an end to such activity, will be sure to surprise South Korea and Japan, US allies who have long sought harsher measures to counter aggressive moves by Pyongyang that have caused concern to them. Most notably, North Korea launched a ballistic missile over the Japanese archipelago last year, in a move that incensed the nations of the world and was seen as an open act of hostility.
In the months leading up to this summit between Trump and Kim, both had shared several antagonistic messages and statements, with Trump referring to Kim as “Rocketman” and with the world wondering if the war of words would give rise to actual armed conflict between both nations. Since that time, there has been a total reversal of both the message and tone behind it regarding how these nations wish to go forward on a path of mutual respect for one another. Following the Singapore summit that concluded yesterday, both leaders have made invitations to the other to visit their respective nations, a statement that Trump had in fact prematurely alluded to before he made his way to this meeting. The other nations of the world look on to see how things will progress, and what it will mean for the state of nuclear armament and threat that once existed.