Pyongyang's U-turn threatens Trump summit

North Korea demands United States to stop pressuring denuclearization on Washington's terms

Pyongyang's U-turn threatens Trump summit

World Bulletin / News Desk

North Korea threatened Wednesday to pull out of a planned summit between leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump unless Washington stops pushing Pyongyang to denuclearize.

"We will not be interested in talks anymore if [they] only try to push us unilaterally into a corner and force us to give up nukes," said the North's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, according to Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency.

He criticized American officials for citing Libya's denuclearization example as a precedent for North Korea to follow, given how advanced Pyongyang's nukes are.

"The U.S. is saying that it will give us economic compensation and benefits if we abandon our nukes. But we have never sought economic development by pinning expectations on the U.S. and such a deal will never happen going forward either," Kim added.

North Korea also announced early Wednesday that it was "indefinitely" postponing inter-Korean talks planned for later in the day.

Pyongyang's state-run KCNA blamed ongoing military drills being carried out by South Korean and American air forces.

"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 development on the Korean Peninsula," the KCNA article stated.

The 'Panmunjom Declaration' refers to an April 27 peace agreement reached during the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade -- a Kim-Trump meeting set for June 12 had been expected to flesh out the details of the North's denuclearization.

While the U.S. is not known to have received any notification of a change in that schedule, the KCNA report warned Washington 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 had only arranged high-level talks with the South a day before Wednesday's cancellation, while the allied military exercises in question started last Friday.

The Max Thunder drills -- described by the allies as defensive in nature -- are set to last two weeks, including the participation of around 100 military aircraft.

North Korea has long condemned such exercises as war preparations, although allied drills earlier this year did not disrupt diplomatic improvements.

Washington was cautious in its initial response, as White House press secretary Sarah Sanders stated that the U.S. "will look at what North Korea has said independently and continue to coordinate closely with our allies".

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert also confirmed that the U.S. "will continue to plan" next month's summit with North Korea in Singapore.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Mayıs 2018, 09:28