Outraged over joint military drills, North Korea is threatening to derail diplomatic efforts on the Korean Peninsula, potentially including President Donald Trump’s highly-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
A furious North Korea said Wednesday that it is cancelling high-level talks with South Korea due to serious concerns over joint military drills with the U.S., according to Yonhap News Agency. North Korean state media criticized the Max Thunder drills, calling the two-week exercise involving more than one hundred military aircraft a rehearsal for an invasion and an unnecessary provocation. North Korea called the allied military exercises a deliberate violation of the Panmunjom Declaration, a joint statement calling for peace at the inter-Korean summit last month.
“This exercise targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea and targeting us, 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 state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) explained Wednesday, adding, “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.”
Pyongyang’s criticisms are surprising considering earlier reports out of Seoul that Kim expressed an clear understanding about joint U.S.-South Korean military drills. While the North Korean report is unquestionably a threat, it is much more restrained than past statements critical of joint military drills.
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