JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Wednesday he was open to new alterations in U.S. military activity on the Korean Peninsula if it helped enable diplomats, who are trying to jump-start stalled peace efforts with North Korea.

Esper did not predict whether he might end up "dialing up or dialing down" such activity, as he spoke to a small group of reporters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on his way to South Korea after North Korea threatened to retaliate if the United States goes ahead with scheduled military drills with South Korea.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

North Korea on Sunday accused the US of "misleading" the public on the status of nuclear talks a day after discussions between the two sides in Stockholm broke down within just hours following an eight-month stalemate.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry said the Trump administration was "misleading the public opinion by touting 'good discussions,'" The Washington Post reported, as it simultaneously warned that if the US does not change its approach by the end of the year then relations between the two countries "may immediately come to an end."

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Taliban chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar sits in a car after the end of peace talks with Afghan senior politicians in Moscow, Russia May 30, 2019. (Reuters/Evgenia Novozhenina)

An Afghan Taliban delegation was due in Pakistan on October 2, the militant group said, as the U.S. special envoy for Afghan peace talks also met government officials there.

It was not known if the Taliban and U.S. official would meet

One of the group's founders, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, said the delegation will discuss "important issues" with Pakistani officials in Islamabad, the country's capital.

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran held talks with a delegation from Afghanistan's Taliban, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, a week after peace talks between the United States and the Islamist insurgents collapsed.

Iran said in December it had been meeting with Taliban representatives with the knowledge of the Afghan government, after reports of U.S.-Taliban talks about a ceasefire and a possible withdrawal of foreign troops.

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Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said he agreed with President Donald Trump's decision to cancel his meeting with the Taliban.

McCarthy, speaking at his nomination hearing on Thursday in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was asked by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). about the White House's "abrupt end" to peace talks, and if the administration's "policy of conducting diplomacy through Twitter" has made it more difficult for the Army in Afghanistan.

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REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said he canceled peace talks with Afghanistan's Taliban leaders after the insurgent group claimed responsibility last week for an attack in Kabul that killed an American soldier and 11 other people.

Trump said he had planned a secret meeting with the Taliban's "major leaders" on Sunday at a presidential compound in Camp David, Maryland. Trump said he also planned to meet with Afghanistan's president.

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