The Pentagon confirmed Friday the U.S. and South Korea have called off the Vigilant Ace military exercise, a large scale operation between U.S. and allied forces.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis and South Korean Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo made the decision together, after Mattis also consulted with Japan’s minister of defense on the matter.
The reasoning for the move was “to give the diplomatic process every opportunity to continue.”
“Both ministers are committed to monitoring training exercises to ensure the readiness of our forces. They pledged to maintain close coordination and evaluate future exercises,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement.
“VIGILANT ACE is an annual exercise to enhance interoperability between the U.S. and ROK forces and ensuring peace and security on the peninsula,” she added.
Last December the five day military exercise was conducted between the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy along with Republic of Korea Air Force personnel and included 230 aircraft including F-22, F-35, and F-16 fighter jets.