The United States has conducted such exercises for decades as a symbol of unity with Seoul and previously rejected North Korean complaints as illegitimate. Ending the games would be a significant political benefit for Kim, but Trump insisted he had not given up leverage.
“I think the meeting was every bit as good for the United States as it was for North Korea,” Trump said, casting himself as a leader who can secure a deal that has eluded past presidents.
South Korea’s presidential office seemed blindsided by the announcement on the joint exercises.
“We need to try to understand what President Trump said,” a spokesman for South Korean President Moon Jae-in said.