January 4, 2018 / 7:12 PM / 2 years ago

U.S.-South Korea military exercises to start after Paralympics: Mattis

FILE PHOTO: Secretary of Defense James Mattis (L) makes a statement outside the West Wing of the White House in response to North Korea's latest nuclear testing, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford listens, in Washington, U.S., September 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday played down a delay of U.S.-South Korean military exercises, saying they would resume after the conclusion of the March 9-18 Paralympics and that their postponement was simply due to logistical concerns.

Mattis, speaking to Pentagon reporters, also credited international pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons and missile programs for Pyongyang’s offer of talks with the South. But he added that it was too soon to say whether the North Korean gesture was meaningful.

“I wouldn’t read too much into it because we don’t know if it’s a genuine olive branch,” Mattis said.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by James Dalgleish

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