Scrapped drill with South Korea would have cost US$14m: Pentagon

S. Korea approves rare screening of N. Korea films

At the Pentagon on Monday, Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said that Ulchi Freedom Guardian would likely have cost the USA about $14 million but gave no details on how the figure was calculated.

The $14 million would be a small fraction of the current US defense budget of about $700 billion.

The president says he believes the North Korean leader wants to denuclearize, and that he "trusts" him.

The annual exercise, which normally begins in late August, involved more than 50,000 South Korean and 17,500 USA troops previous year.

The North's state media normally lead their television bulletins and front pages with Kim's doings, but a seven-day absence from the headlines, including during Pompeo's visit, had prompted speculation on his whereabouts among Korea-watchers.

Pompeo insisted the talks were making progress but as soon as he left, the North's foreign ministry berated him over his "unilateral and gangster-like" demands and for offering no constructive steps on the U.S. side.

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Meanwhile, Pompeo was meeting with the comparatively junior General Kim Yong Chol.

KCNA, the official North Korean news agency, put out several detailed reports about Kim's trip, according to multiple reports.

Trump unilaterally made a decision to suspend military drills with South Korea, which could potentially wither and undermine the rationale behind an important U.S. foothold in Asia. He also said he did not know how long it would take to reinstate the exercises should negotiations break down.

Trump's comments echoed the stance of Republican senator Lindsey Graham, who said Pyongyang's latest condemnation of the USA has "China's hands all over" it. "North Korea has made it clear that its principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action has to be abided by", Wang said, adding that both Washington and Pyongyang need to make compromises to narrow their gaps. The troops have continued to train unilaterally, he said. "We've got a series of things we do to maintain readiness".

It is based on a computerised command-and-control drill that Pyongyang considers a highly provocative rehearsal for invasion.

Last year, 17,500 American servicemembers participated in the exercise, including about 3,500 who came from outside of South Korea, according to the Pentagon. Some 50,000 South Korean troops participated in the exercise a year ago.

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