In an interview with reporters flying with him to Seoul, Esper said any changes in military exercises or training would be done in ways that did not jeopardize troops’ combat preparedness. And he said they would be done in consultation with the South Korean government.
He would not say what specific adjustments might be contemplated. The U.S. and South Korea already scaled back their 2018 and 2019 military exercises in the hope that it would help move North Korea toward agreement to give up its nuclear weapons. So far that has not worked.
“We will adjust our exercise posture, either more or less, depending on what diplomacy may require,” Esper said, adding, “We have to be open to all those things that empower and enable our diplomats” in the nuclear talks.