TEMPO.CO, Seoul - North Korea threw into question next month’s unprecedented summit between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, denouncing on Wednesday U.S.-South Korean military exercises as a provocation and calling off high-level talks with Seoul.
A report on North Korea’s official KCNA angrily attacked the “Max Thunder” air combat drills, which it said involved U.S. stealth fighters and B-52 bombers, and appeared to mark a break in months of warming ties between North and South Korea and between Pyongyang and Washington.
The “Max Thunder” drills, aimed at “boosting the capability of pilots”, would go on as planned and were not aimed at attacking a third party, the South’s defence ministry said.
Any cancellation of the June 12 summit in Singapore, the first meeting between a serving U.S. president and a North Korean leader, would deal a major blow to Trump’s efforts to score the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency.
Trump has raised expectations for a successful meeting even as many analysts have been sceptical of the chances of bridging the gap due to questions about North Korea’s willingness to give up a nuclear arsenal that it says can hit the United States.
The KCNA report called the air drills a “provocation” that went against the trend of warming ties.