In this April 25, 2017 photo provided by South Korean Defense Ministry, the destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer fires during a joint exercises between the United States and South Korea in South Korea's West Sea.
The defense ministers of Japan, the United States and South Korea have agreed to work closely together to implement the UN sanctions against North Korea.
"Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo chose to suspend Exercise VIGILANT ACE to give the diplomatic process every opportunity to continue", said Dana White, the chief Pentagon spokesperson.
It was the latest move aimed at trying to nudge North Korea into negotiating about giving up its nuclear weapons in a way that can be verified.
"Both ministers are committed to modifying training exercises to ensure the readiness of our forces", she said, adding that Mattis consulted his Japanese counterpart, Takeshi Iwaya, on the matter. She said the need for future exercises would continue to be evaluated.
During the meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the annual ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus, Mattis also expressed concern about China's militarization of the South China Sea.
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Last year, 230 aircraft and some 12,000 US and South Korean troops participated.
The two Koreas were wrapping up their demining operations in part of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to carry out their plan to disarm the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the buffer zone separating them, a government official said here on Friday.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim in Pyongyang, and also with leaders in South Korea and China to discuss nuclear disarmament in North Korea.
On the heels of President Trump's landmark summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in June, the Pentagon scrapped the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, one of the largest joint drills between the US and South Korea. He called the maneuvers provocative and expensive. The stated goal, as with most such manoeuvres between the USA and its allies, is to ensure that the two militaries can operate together effectively and safely in wartime and to deter an adversary like North Korea.
"I would say it was a prudent risk if we're willing to make the effort to change the relationship with (North Korea)", Ten Robert Abrams told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee then.