North Korea has spent the past two days complaining about ongoing U.S.-South Korean war games, but the Pentagon is unfazed by North Korea’s fury.
North Korea has expressed frustration with the latest iteration of the Max Thunder exercises, two-week joint drills involving American and South Korean air assets, but there have been “no changes” to the drills, a defense official told The Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday, contradicting some reports that the exercises had been scaled down in response.
“There’s been no talk of reducing anything. There’s been no talk of changing our scope. These are annual exercises,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White explained Thursday, according to Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson.
North Korea expressed particular concern about the deployment of strategic nuclear assets to the peninsula for the drills. ”
“At a time when the DPRK-U.S. summit is approaching, the U.S. has launched the largest-ever drill involving B-52 strategic nuclear bomber, F-22 Raptor stealth fighters and other nuclear strategic assets,” North Korean state media reported Wednesday, arguing that the drills were detrimental to the ongoing peace process in Korea.
A defense official told TheDCNF Thursday that not only are there no Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses taking part in the drills, but there are also no strategic nuclear assets involved in the exercises, which are said to be defensive in nature.
A number of Trump administration officials said the North’s sudden outburst, which involved the cancellation of talks with South Korea and the very real possibility that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might back out of the planned summit with President Donald Trump, is simple posturing ahead of the summit, CNN reported.
The White House expressed optimism and hope Wednesday, but stressed that if talks fail, the U.S. will continue to put pressure on North Korea. “We are still hopeful the meeting will take place … If it doesn’t, we will continue the maximum pressure campaign that’s been ongoing,” Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, explained on Fox & Friends.
Speaking on joint drills, the press secretary said Thursday that the U.S. has “no intention of canceling joint military exercises with South Korea.”
When asked about the future of the summit, Trump simply said, “We’ll see what happens.”
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