Pence Comments Spark Controversy Over Military Exercises In South Korea (VIDEO)

Pence Comments Spark Controversy Over Military Exercises In South Korea (VIDEO)

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A reporter tweeted early Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. and South Korea will continue military exercises contrary to President Donald Trump’s statement that they would end. This seemed to rile up Pence’s spokespeople, who immediately insisted the Vice President didn’t say that, Mediaite reports.

When Politico reporter Burgess Everett tweeted he’d heard the information from Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), that sparked plenty of confusion.

But Alyssa Farah and Jarrod Agen, representatives for Pence, jumped into the fray, saying the vice president never said these things.

That prompted Gardner to clarify Pence’s comments. In-between all the back-and-forth he tweeted in a statement that Pence “was very clear: regular readiness training and training exchanges will continue.” Gardner also said Pence “went on to say while this readiness training and exchanges will occur, war games will not.”

Pence had discussed the issue with Senate Republicans Tuesday, telling them that some training exchanges and readiness training in conjunction with South Korea will go on. In talks with reporters, Gardner said Pence and the Trump administration will continue “to clarify what the president had talked about,” and added that “exercises will continue with South Korea.”

“It’s my understanding that there will be some exercises that will continue,” Gardner said. “And that’s the clarification I was talking about that will most likely be coming when the president returns.”

Some GOP senators said they were worried that Trump agreed to stop the war games and other exercises with South Korea as a concession to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“The VP didn’t say exercises will continue,” said an aide for Pence. “He was asked about force readiness and said that while the semi-annual war games would cease (assuming that the parameters of the deal are met), regular readiness training would continue. It may seem like a small distinction but is fairly significant. That’s where the confusion arose.”

The decision to stop the “war games” follows the conclusion of the summit between Trump and the North Korean leader.

Gardner discusses the issue in the short video below.

Photo by Gage Skidmore CC by SA 2.0 via Flickr