Offbeat Pentagon: No planned changes to Korea military exercises

21:30  17 may  2018
21:30  17 may  2018 Source:

For Pentagon, South Korea drills became a crucial but quiet endeavor

  For Pentagon, South Korea drills became a crucial but quiet endeavor By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise will start on Aug. 21 as planned , the Pentagon said on Friday as the United States and North Korea traded threats of war.

Pentagon spokesman says US military is consulting with South Korea 's military about how to ease tensions. And, he said, there is no plan to cancel expected joint naval exercises off the Korean and Chinese coasts, not far from the island that was attacked.

South Korean fighter jets prepare for takeoff during the © JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images South Korean fighter jets prepare for takeoff during the "Max Thunder" South Korea-U.S. military joint air exercise at a U.S. air base in the southwestern port city of Gunsan, South Korea, in 2017. WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says there are no plans to change or reduce the scope of the ongoing military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea that triggered an angry reaction from North Korea, casting doubt on the planned summit with President Donald Trump next month.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White says the schedule of exercises hasn't changed. She says the annual exercises are long-planned, are defensive in nature and are meant to ensure the readiness of U.S. and South Korean forces.

Exercise Max Thunder began on Monday and concludes May 25. It includes aircraft from across the U.S. military services. Last year's exercise included roughly 1,200 U.S. personnel and about 640 South Koreans. This year's drill is similar.

Pyongyang has said it won't return to talks with Seoul due to the exercises.

Pentagon report: Nukes are central to North Korea strategy .
A Pentagon report to Congress says North Korea sees nuclear weapons as central to its security, an assessment that would seem to complicate President Donald Trump's effort to persuade the North's dictator, Kim Jong Un, to give them up. The report was delivered to Congress in April, one month after Trump agreed to meet Kim to discuss the North's denuclearization. It was based on the Pentagon's analysis of North Korea's military capabilities and strategies through 2017, when it was widely believed in the U.S. government that Kim had no intention of surrendering his nuclear weapons.

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