North Korea on Wednesday threw into question an unprecedented summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump scheduled for next month, denouncing military exercises between South Korea and the United States as a provocation and calling off high-level talks with Seoul. Jonah Green reports.
North Korea said on Wednesday it had no choice but to suspend high-level talks with South Korea due to U.S.-South Korean military exercises that went against the trend of warming North-South ties.
South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the North also threatened to cancel the upcoming June 12th summit with President Donald Trump.
Though on Tuesday the U.S. State Department said for now they would operate on the assumption that the summit was still on.
SOUNDBITE (English) U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON HEATHER NAUERT:
"I don't wanna get ahead of this announcement that everybody is so worked up about until we have some time to take a look at things, ok?"
It was only last Thursday when President Trump welcomed home three Korean-American prisoners released from North Korea, with the U.S. president thanking Kim Jong Un for the overture.
But now talks with the South are on ice: the meeting between the North and South, scheduled for later on Wednesday, was due to focus on how to implement a declaration from the extraordinary inter-Korean summit in April, including promises to formally end the Korean War and pursue "complete denuclearization," according to the South.
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency called joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises a "intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula" and said Pyongyang had no choice but to suspend the talks.