Vastavam web: The U.S. military has no plans yet to suspend any more major military exercises with South Korea, the defence secretary said on Tuesday, in the middle of a breakdown in diplomacy with North Korea over its nuclear weapons. Defence Secretary James Mattis told a Pentagon news conference that no decisions had been made about major exercises for next year, but noted that the suspension of drills this summer as a good-faith gesture to North Korea was not open-ended.
“We took the step to suspend several of the largest exercises as a good-faith measure coming out of the Singapore summit,” Mattis told reporters, referring to the June 12 meeting between Trump and Kim. Mattis also said smaller exercises deemed to be exempt from the suspension were ongoing. Mattis’ comments on the drills come at a delicate time for negotiations between the United States and North Korea after Trump scrapped plans for a meeting between top officials from both countries. North Korean officials even warned in a letter to U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week that denuclearisation talks risked falling apart, U.S. officials told Reuters.
In particular, the North wants steps towards a peace treaty. The 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving U.S.-led U.N. forces technically still at war with North Korea. A South Korea presidential spokesman acknowledged that talks between Washington and Pyongyang were at a stalemate. “With North Korea and the U.S. remaining stalemated, there is an even bigger need for an inter-Korea summit,” Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for the presidential Blue House, told a briefing.