President Trump said that there's no reason to spend a lot of money on military war games with South Korea, but he warned he could "instantly" relaunch the exercises and they would be "far bigger than ever before." Trump made the comment Wednesday in a series of tweets (read them in full here, here, here, and here) that primarily took aim at China, blaming it for lack of progress on getting North Korea to end its nuclear program following the president's landmark summit with Kim Jong Un in June, the AP reports. But there was also a loaded message for Kim: mixing an expression of goodwill to the North Korean autocrat with an implicit military threat that will add to speculation over the direction of Trump's attempted rapprochement with a longtime adversary.
"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 U.S.-South Korea war games," read a White House statement retweeted by Trump. "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." Trump caught military leaders by surprise in June when he announced the suspension with the South, "unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should." He called the drills costly and provocative. The cancellation was an olive branch to Pyongyang, but doubts have since grown in Washington and beyond over Kim's willingness to relinquish his nukes. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday war games could resume. (Read more North Korea stories.)