Aug 28, 2018 - Politics & Policy

U.S. could resume military exercises with South Korea, Mattis says

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, left, speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon August 28, 2018. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Defense Secretary James Mattis suggested Tuesday at a wide-ranging press conference that the U.S. could resume military exercises with South Korea going forward, after President Trump announced a suspension of large scale exercises following his summit with Kim Jong-un.

Why it matters: Trump called the exercises "provocative" in June and said they would be halted "unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should," but there are now signs the administration is getting frustrated by the lack of progress. Last Friday, Trump directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel his upcoming trip to North Korea, saying the country was not "making sufficient progress with respect to denuclearization."

The details: Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, said Mattis was referring to the fact that the U.S. had only agreed to suspend three major exercises which were due to conclude by September. Beyond that, there is no commitment to further suspensions.

"We took the step to suspend several of the largest exercises as a good faith measure coming out of the Singapore summit. We have no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises. We will work very closely, as I said, with the Secretary of State and what he needs done, we will certainly do to reinforce his effort. But at this time there is no discussion about further suspensions."
ā€” Secretary Mattis

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that no decision has been made on large-scale exercises. Our original headline was based on a Pentagon press release that a spokesman said is being corrected.

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