US Defense Secretary James Mattis says the United States does not plan to pause a joint annual military exercise with South Korea during the upcoming Winter Olympics in the Asian country.
South Korea will host the Olympics in February amid rising tensions with North Korea.
Seoul and Washington usually hold their two annual military drills, called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, in March and April, with some 17,000 American troops and more than 300,000 South Korean soldiers participating in the exercises.
Pyongyang is highly critical of those exercises, considering them preparations to invade the North. In response, it has been developing its weapons programs.
Earlier this month, North Korean state-run media described a joint exercise between the US and South Korea as a naval blockade against the North and warned that it would take “merciless self-defensive” measures.
The blockade, it added, would be a “wanton violation” of the country’s…