The US and South Korea are canceling more exercises, including a recently announced small scale “flying training event,” to allow for more discussions with North Korea, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said.
“We have made this decision as an act of goodwill to contribute to an environment conducive to diplomacy and the advancement of peace,” Esper said during a visit with his South Korean counterpart in Bangkok on Nov. 17.
Following Esper’s statement, President Donald Trump took to Twitter and called on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to “get the deal done” and “see you soon,” hinting that a third summit was coming.
On Nov. 18, however, a North Korean spokesman, speaking through the official state news agency, said there’s been “no particular improvement” in relations with the US following multiple rounds of talks.
“We are no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us,” the spokesman said, according to The Associated Press.
The move to cancel the smaller replacement exercise follows the decision to cancel last year’s Vigilant Ace exercise. Originally started in 2015, the exercise featured hundreds of aircraft from both the US and South Korea flying together to simulate conflict on the Korean Peninsula. Other large exercises, such as Foal Eagle and Ulchi Freedom Guardian, also also been canceled in recent years.
US military officials maintain the readiness of forces on the Peninsula has not been impacted despite two years without the large war games.