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Trump and Kim in Singapore. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump announced early Tuesday morning that the U.S. would be ending "war games" (joint military exercises) with South Korea, a significant concession to North Korea that does not appear to have been made in consultation with Seoul.

How it's playing: South Korea is reportedly seeking more information about what Trump meant. Bill Neely, NBC News' Chief Global Correspondent, tweets: "There is every indication from Seoul that the South Korean leadership and military did not know the US was about to cancel Joint Military exercises. 'We need to find out' they say. Stunning if true."

The rhetoric that accompanied the announcement was significant as well.

  • Trump called the exercises "provocative," undermining the Pentagon's long-time claim that they are purely "defensive" and not a threat to North Korea. He said it was "inappropriate" to continue while negotiating a peace deal, and North Korea "really appreciated" the step.
  • His main complaint was the "tremendous" cost. "South Korea contributes but not 100% and that's something we have to talk to them about also," he said.
  • One key line: "I want to get our soldiers out, I want to bring our soldiers back home ... that's not part of the equation right now, at some point I hope it will be."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

U.S. ahead of pace on vaccines

A health care worker administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Ruleville, Mississippi. Photo: Rory Doyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. is now vaccinating an average of 2 million people a day, up from 1.3 million in early February.

Why it matters: That puts us on track to hit President Biden's goal of 100 million doses a month ahead of schedule.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill

Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is forcing the Senate clerk to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, a procedural move that will likely add 10 hours to the 20 hours already allotted for debate.

4 hours ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.

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