Kim’s regime said through state-run news agency KCNA that ongoing ‘Max Thunder’ joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea are actually a ‘rehearsal for invasion’ of the North.
‘The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities,’ KCNA said.
Few details were immediately available, but South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that what was supposed to be a historic meeting over the North’s nuclear weapons program, trade sanctions and other issues could be imperiled.
The cancellation would be a blow to Team Trump, which won the release of three Americans held prisoner in the North and concessions from Kim to dismantle a nuclear research facility.
The North also said it was canceling high-level talks with the South planned for Wednesday due to ongoing military exercises between the South and the US, Yonhap reported.
The North’s Central News Agency said the Max Thunder drills between the South Korean and US air forces were a rehearsal for invasion of the North and a provocation amid warming inter-Korean ties.
The high-level talks were meant to take place on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss follow-up measures to the two Korean leaders’ summit last month.
The U.S. State Department said it had not received any information from North Korea about the threat to cancel the June summit between Trump and Kim, Reuters reported.
“Kim Jong Un had said previously that he understands the need and the utility of the United States and the Republic of Korea continuing in its joint exercises,” said Heather Nauert, a State Department spokeswoman, in a briefing shortly after the North Korean announcement.
The department will continue to plan for the summit, which is currently scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
May 15th, 2018