- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 17, 2018

Despite threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to cancel a planned summit with President Trump set for next month, the Pentagon on Thursday insisted there’s absolutely no discussion of scaling back the joint U.S.-South Korean military drills that have put that landmark meeting in jeopardy.

North Korea has blasted the joint exercises and said they represent an serious American provocation, though the U.S. has shown no willingness to postpone or reduce the drills in order to help achieve a diplomatic breakthrough with Mr. Kim.

“There has been no talk of reducing anything. There has been no talk of changing our scope,” Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told reporters Thursday. “These are annual exercises. We’re very transparent about them. They are defensive in nature and the scope hasn’t changed.”

“This is about the alliance” with South Korea, she continued. “This is about safeguarding the alliance. This is about ensuring our readiness as an alliance.”

The annual joint exercises, known as “Max Thunder,” involve roughly 2,000 American troops, in addition to South Korean forces.

North Korea this week suspended ongoing talks with South Korea over its objections to the exercises.

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