Just a day after complaining about South Korea's agreement to a no-fly zone, the pentagon has announced they are cancelling the Vigilante Ace exercise with South Korea for 2018.
The U.S.is suspending another military exercise with South Korea to aid negotiations over North Korea's nuclear program that President Donald Trump has said should "soon" result in another summit with Kim Jong Un.
Friday's announcement marks the second major military exercise suspended by the U.S.as the administration pushes to reach a lasting diplomatic deal with Pyongyang.
Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, US Defense Secretary James Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo held trilateral talks in Singapore on Friday.
It was the latest move aimed at trying to nudge North Korea into negotiating about giving up its nuclear weapons in a way that can be verified. That word comes while Pentagon chief Jim Mattis is in Singapore for a meeting of Asian defence ministers. "They pledged to maintain close coordination and evaluate future exercises", White said.
Last year's version of the annual Vigilant Air exercise included the participation of 230 aircraft and more than 12,000 personnel.
The two Koreas were wrapping up their demining operations in part of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to carry out their plan to disarm the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the buffer zone separating them, a government official said here on Friday.
Mr. Trump also had taken direct aim at the drill, saying it was unnecessarily provocative toward North Korea and too expensive for US taxpayers.
"We'd like to have hopes but we also need to view developments regarding North Korea's denuclearization carefully", Iwaya told his USA and South Korean counterparts at the meeting.
Senior U.S. military officials have said they have ways of adjusting to limited suspensions of exercises with South Korea but that at some point the lack of exercising the procedures involved in commanding and controlling combat forces will erode their preparedness for war.
But there "was certainly a degradation in the readiness of the force, for the combined forces", General Robert Abrams told the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing.