July 11, 2018 11:32
The U.S. Defense Department will save US$14 million by suspending joint South Korea-U.S. drills in August, Newsweek quoted Pentagon spokesman Robert Manning as saying Monday.
U.S. President Donald Trump has cited the high cost as one excuse for suspending large-scale joint drills with South Korea.
Manning did not reveal how the cost was calculated. Some 17,500 U.S. troops were expected to take part in this year's two-week Freedom Guardian drills. The $14 million is a mere 0.002 percent of the U.S.' annual defense budget of $686 billion, AFP reported.
According to Reuters, $14 million is roughly the daily amount the U.S. spent in Iraq and Syria to repel ISIS in February. The U.S. is believed to have spent about $18.2 billion since it began operations against ISIS in 2014.
Trump abruptly promised to end the war games in a press conference after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12. He said this "will save us a tremendous amount of money."
Five days later, South Korean and U.S. military authorities announced the suspension of the Freedom Guardian drills. U.S. lawmakers even in Trump's Republican Party have called for resuming the joint drills now that Pyongyang is dragging its heels on denuclearization.
Roy Blunt of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Joni Ernst of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sunday said the joint drills should go ahead.
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