The Defense Ministry says South Korea and the U.S. will proceed with their annual Max Thunder military exercise as planned despite protest from North Korea. 

The ministry said in a statement that Seoul and Washington are on the same page about the exercise, noting that the air drill is aimed at enhancing pilots’ performances, not at carrying out plan of operations or combat training. 

The statement came shortly after South Korea’s Defense Minister Song Young-moo and U.S. Forces Korea Commander Vincent Brooks held an emergency meeting following the North's abrupt cancellation of high-level inter-Korean talks set to open later in the day. 

Meanwhile, a military official said that U.S. B-52 nuclear bombers have not joined the exercises yet and are unlikely to take part. The two-week long drills kicked off on Friday.