North Korea has conveyed that it may have to reconsider holding its first-ever summit with the United States if the country continues to press Pyongyang to unilaterally abandon its nuclear program.
The Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday reported the remark by North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, who has led negotiations with the United States.
The remark came following the North’s announcement earlier in the day that it had suspended high-level talks with South Korea scheduled for the same day.
The day’s edition of the Workers’ Party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, harshly criticized the South’s 2-week long Max Thunder drills with the US, which began on Friday.
Referring to the mobilization of about 100 aircraft, it accused the drills of being “a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration, and an intentional provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula.”
It placed full blame on South Korea for the suspension of the inter-Korean talks which were scheduled to discuss implementation of the declaration.
The latest moves are seen as an effort by North Korea to maintain the upper hand in the process leading up to its summit with the US in Singapore on June 12th.
The United States is seeking North Korea’s complete, irreversible and verifiable denuclearization. Pyongyang wants a phased plan including a guarantee of the safety of its regime and the removal of military threats to the country.