North Korea said early Wednesday morning it had no choice but to suspend high-level talks with South Korea scheduled for later in the day because of U.S.-South Korean military exercises that went against the trend of warming North-South ties.
The meeting was to focus on plans to implement a declaration that emerged from an April 27 inter-Korea summit in the border village of Panmunjom, including promises to formally end the Korean War and pursue “complete denuclearization,” according to the South’s Unification Ministry, which handles ties with the North.
North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) called joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises a “provocation” and said Pyongyang had no choice but to suspend the talks.
“This exercise, targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula,” the Seoul-based Yonhap news agency quoted KCNA as saying.
KNCA also cast doubt on the outcome of next month’s summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.
“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 the North objected to the U.S.-South Korean “Max Thunder” air combat drills, which it said involved U.S. stealth fighters and B-52 bombers.