UPDATED 7:21 AM PT — Mon. July 9, 2018
Lawmakers are asking what comes next if talks between the U.S. and North Korea break down, and are looking back to pre-summit practices.
On Sunday, Iowa GOP Senator Joni Ernst said the U.S. should restart its military exercises with South Korea if talks don’t continue.
President Trump agreed to halt the drills during last month’s landmark summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The move was an effort to secure a commitment from Pyongyang to end its nuclear program.
However, many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle defended the drills as a necessary deterrent, and say they need to prepare for a potential conflict on the peninsula.
“I think we should continue with military exercises — I believe they have a purpose in keeping the peninsula safe and making sure if anything were to happen we are well rehearsed with our allies to engage, so I would say soon if we don’t see those talks continue,” stated Senator Ernst.
The lawmaker’s comments come one-day after North Korea criticized the U.S. for their push for denuclearization.
After meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, North Korean officials called the U.S. demands “gangster-like.”