Former Pacific Command leader Admiral Harry Harris, President Trump’s nominee to be the next ambassador to South Korea, endorsed the idea of a pause of US war games in South Korea as a way to improve ties with the North.
“The whole landscape has shifted,” Harris said, adding it was worth a pause to see if Kim Jong-un is serious about diplomacy. Before this pause, the US had multiple large war games with South Korea annually.
The reason this was an issue is that the joint war games almost exclusively were built around simulating an invasion of North Korea. Attempting to assure North Korea that a US invasion isn’t imminent means such exercises are counterproductive.
The Pentagon had long been presenting these war games as necessary for “readiness.” They now say they are going to have to come up with other things for the large US deployment in South Korea to do that would maintain that level of readiness but which don’t involve war games targeting North Korea.