(Image: Yonhap News)
The Pentagon says the U.S. and South Korea have continued to maintain an adequate level of defense readiness.
Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday the Washington-Seoul alliance will remain strong as ever, calling it a "linchpin" for the region.
He made the remarks during a press briefing when asked about South Korean President Moon Jae-in's recent comments that Seoul may consult with Pyongyang on joint military drills between the allies, if necessary.
The North Korean regime has long criticized the military maneuvers as a pretext for war.
They were downsized in previous years in a bid to boost stalled diplomacy and efforts to denuclearize the North.
Kirby also noted that the exercises had been subject to changes, partly due to COVID-19, but insisted the combined forces continue to remain trained and ready.
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