North Korea's silence clouds prospects of Trump-Kim meeting

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At a potentially pivotal moment of diplomacy with North Korea, the Pentagon said Monday that annual U.S.

A ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of department rules, said there are no immediate plans to bring in American strategic assets such as aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines or supersonic B-1B bombers during this spring's training.

The exercises are slated to resume April 1, Pentagon officials said in a statement.

The visit, which was agreed after talks between the countries in the border area of Panmunjom and will include a series of concerts, will last until 3 April, South Korea's unification ministry said.

There is also unease, according to some US officials, that the Kim regime still hasn't made a public statement on its reported offer to discuss abandoning its nuclear arsenal and halt all weapons tests while such discussions play out - an offer South Korean officials conveyed more than two weeks ago.

There's been an uptick in diplomatic back-and-forth between Seoul and Pyongyang since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced in January that his country was interested in sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics.

Despite the North's denunciation of past drills, Chung said Kim understood that the allies must continue their "routine" joint military exercises.

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"It is good to have the discussion going on and take the use of this time frame that was opened between the South and North Korea before the (Winter) Olympics (last month)", Soini said.

The annual U.S. -South Korea military exercises that usually anger North Korea will start in two weeks, setting up the first test in the historic agreement for talks between Kim Jong Un and President Trump. The North has often responded to the drills with its own military actions, and previous year fired four ballistic missiles close to Japan.

The news came despite official statements Tuesday from both Washington and Seoul that this year's drills would be "similar" in size to previous ones.

"I think both the South and the United States are staging a relatively low-key exercise in a bid not to unnecessarily provoke the North in this mood of rapprochement", Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University.

North Korea also said it was "committed" to giving up its nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang had previously slammed the U.S.

Popular girl band Red Velvet is also among the South Korean groups.

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