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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."
— 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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Ro Khanna accuses Biden of quitting Middle East

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An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

Democrats eye reconciliation for immigration

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.

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Scoop: Biden meeting Quad amid own pivot toward Asia

Artists paint portraits of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Mumbai, India. Photo: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

President Biden plans to meet this month with the leaders of Japan, Australia and India in a virtual summit of the so-called Quad, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: By putting a Quad meeting on the president’s schedule, the White House is signaling the importance of partnerships and alliances to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.