Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the comment at a daily news briefing, adding that he was not aware of specific arrangements on who the Chinese envoy, Song Tao, will meet while in the North. He did not specify what matters would be discussed.
This is the first time the three supercarriers are sailing together in the same region in nearly 10 years, making it clear that the Trump administration is determined to flex its muscles against the Kim Jong-un regime. The U.N. Command said Tuesday that an investigation into the incident was underway.
The 1984 exchange of gunfire happened after North Korean soldiers crossed the border and fired, according to the U.N. Command.
The soldier had defected from a North Korean guard post nearby. He feared the long and difficult journey - typically covering hundreds of miles across tough terrain - was too dangerous for his wife and child, a decision he now bitterly regrets. Yonhap News agency said Kim's military officials reportedly "cherry-pick" loyal soldiers who are stationed at the DMZ.
The soldier took cover behind a South Korean structure in a Joint Security Area (JSA) inside the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas.
It gives Lee some hope as does a speech to South Korea's parliament by U.S. President Donald Trump last week where he listed North Korea's human rights abuses saying the country "is a hell no person deserves".
N.Korean Soldier Flees Through Hail of Bullets
Seoul's military said in a statement that the exercises aim to enhance the combined U.S. and South Korean operational and aerial strike capabilities and to display "strong will and firm military readiness to defeat any provocation by North Korea with dominant force in the event of crisis".
In Monday's incident, it wasn't known if the North continued firing after the defector was officially in the southern part of the Joint Security Area.
The most famous incident was in 1976, when two American army officers were killed by ax-wielding North Korean soldiers.
There were a handful of moments when Trump appeared to drag, including during a lengthy interpretive hip-hop performance in Manila and an extended toast in Vietnam that left journalists yawning.
North Korea has remained silent on the issue, while no unusual activity has been detected at its border with the South where the soldier defected, the South's Unification Ministry said.
The exercise features the aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz, and USS Theodore Roosevelt and includes air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, close-in coordinated maneuvers and other training, Navy officials said.