Former CIA Director Michael Hayden called President Trump’s decision to end joint military exercises on the Korean peninsula a “pretty significant concession” by the U.S. to North Korea.
“The president obviously made a judgment that he needs that concession in order to keep this process moving forward,” Hayden told CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday morning.
“But John, that is the only concession that was made in yesterday’s talks,” Hayden said. “The North Koreans did not come with anything new.”
“The North Koreans did not come with anything new,” says Fmr. CIA Dir. Michael Hayden on the Trump-Kim summit: “The new element is that we agreed to stop our annual exercise cycle with our South Koreans allies. That’s actually a pretty significant concession.” pic.twitter.com/KYEZZ3jMtZ
— New Day (@NewDay) June 12, 2018
“The new element is that we agreed to stop our annual exercise cycle with our South Koreans allies,” he continued. “That’s actually a pretty significant concession.”
Hayden went on to say that the U.S. already had a “fairly light footprint” in South Korea prior to Trump’s announcement.
“The whole defense of South Korea is based upon our ability in the South and North Korea’s knowledge of our ability to flow forces to the peninsula quickly for the defense of South Korea,” Hayden said, while adding that Trump’s use of the word “provocative” to describe the joint military exercises “unfortunately takes the language out the North Korean propaganda machine.”
The Hill added:
Trump announced after he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday that he would suspend joint military exercises on the Korean peninsula.
By making such an announcement, the president got rid of a sticking point for Pyongyang, which has repeatedly said in the past that the drills are a pretext for a strike on the North.
The Pentagon has said the exercises are essential to alliance-building and military readiness.
South Korea was caught off guard by Trump’s announcement, saying shortly after that it needs to “find out the precise meaning or intentions” of Trump’s decision.