Confusion over US Vice President Mike Pence’s Korea comments
Confusion reigned briefly in Washington on Tuesday after one senator claimed US Vice President Mike Pence said military exercises in South Korea will continue, contrary to statements made by President Donald Trump in Singapore.
After meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday Donald Trump announced the US will be “stopping the war games” on the Korean peninsula, describing them as expensive and “provocative.”
At a lunch with Republican senators on Tuesday, however, Vice President Mike Pence said that exercises will continue - according to Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), a frequent critic of Trump.
This prompted Pence’s spokeswoman, Alyssa Farah, to outright deny the comment. Farah tweeted: “VP didn’t say this at the Senate lunch today,”
The confusion was cleared up though, when an unnamed official from Pence’s office stepped in and told NBC that the VP was referring to the “bi-annual military exercises” and not the “routine training and readiness exercises,” meaning Senator Cory Gardner was technically correct but his comment had been generally misunderstood. There is a “huge difference between the two,” the anonymous official said.
Some 30 minutes after his original tweet, Senator Gardner sent a follow-up, clarifying that Pence was saying “readiness training and exchanges” will continue, but “war games will not.”