We've nearly come full circle in Korea as Secretary of Defense James Mattis says we will participate in future military exercises alongside South Korea. The exercises had been suspended following Trump's fake deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Citing a lack of progress, Mattis says we won't suspend any future exercises.
“We have no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises,” Mattis told reporters Tuesday, adding that the Pentagon hasn’t made decisions about major annual drills expected next year. “We’ll make decisions on that in consultation with State.”
Mattis said he’s working in coordination with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s diplomatic efforts -- “it’s all riding on Secretary Pompeo’s shoulders,” he said -- but he also signaled that smaller-scale exercises are going ahead.
Trump canceled Pompeo's next trip to North Korea which was suppose to happen this week. Blaming China for the current state of things, Trump also said Pompeo will not visit North Korea until after his trade war with China is resolved which could be never.
With that in mind, if it's "all riding on Secretary Pompeo's shoulders," as Mattis says, I think it's safe to say we've circled all the way back to where things were earlier this year.
All that's missing is more weapons tests by the North, but I'm sure that's coming at some point.
Kim Jong-un was never going to give up his weapons but, even if he considered doing so, Trump made it extraordinarily easy for him not to. Trump told the world that North Korea agreed to give up their weapons even though they never did any such thing. Kim Jong-un got all the good press of meeting with Trump and it cost him nothing.