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President Trump. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In a series of tweets Wednesday, President Trump said there was "no reason at this time" to participate in joint "war games" with South Korea and Japan, maintaining that his relationship with Kim Jong-un is still "a very good and warm one."

Why it matters: Despite the administration's frustration with the denuclearization process with North Korea, Trump is standing by his decision to pull out of the military exercises, which he characterized as "provocative" in June. His tweets also clarify any confusion after Defense Secretary James Mattis suggested Tuesday that joint military exercises could be back on the table.

  • Trump also suggested that the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and Beijing had affected the negotiations with Pyongyang, and blamed China for providing North Korea with aid and other goods. However, Trump added that he believes the issues with China will be resolved in time, noting his "very strong" bond with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Timing: This comes after the president canceled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's trip to Pyongyang, tweeting last week that he feels the U.S. is "not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

The tweets:

"STATEMENT FROM THE WHITE HOUSE
President Donald J. Trump feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese Government. At the same time, we also know that China is providing North Korea with...considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertilizer and various other commodities. This is not helpful! Nonetheless, the President believes that his relationship with Kim Jong Un is a very good and warm one, and there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts...
...of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games. Besides, the President can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses. If he does, they will be far bigger than ever before. As for the U.S.–China trade disputes, and other...differences, they will be resolved in time by President Trump and China’s great President Xi Jinping. Their relationship and bond remain very strong."

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.

8 hours ago - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.