McCain implicitly criticizes Trump for 'parroting' North Korean talking points
Posted June 14, 2018 5:18 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — Sen. John McCain implicitly criticized President Donald Trump on Thursday for "parroting" North Korean and Chinese rhetoric about US-South Korean joint military exercises following the summit between Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un earlier this week.
"Parroting Chinese and North Korean propaganda by saying joint exercises are 'provocative' undermines our security and alliances," the Arizona Republican said in a statement.
McCain's statement did not specifically mention Trump in relation to the word "provocative," but Trump had used the words "provocative" and "war games" to describe the joint military exercises at a press conference in Singapore.
McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, further criticized the decision to suspend the joint military exercises.
"Suspending US-South Korea joint military exercises is a mistake," McCain said. "Making unnecessary and unreciprocated concessions is not in our interests -- and it is a bad negotiating tactic."
McCain encouraged efforts at peace "through dialogue" but urged against further concessions.
"I continue to hope that President Trump will be successful in his diplomatic efforts to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," he said. "But we must not impose upon ourselves the burden of providing so-called 'good faith' concessions as the price for continued dialogue."
McCain's statement also emphasized that North Korea is the most significant obstacle to peace.
"It is North Korea -- through its nuclear and missile programs, aggressive behavior and egregious human rights violations -- that poses the greatest threat to peace," he said. "And until North Korea takes concrete steps to change that, no concessions should be made and the sanctions must continue."