Home / North Korea threatens to cancel summit with Trump over military drills – The Denver Post

North Korea threatens to cancel summit with Trump over military drills – The Denver Post

SEOUL – North Korea on Wednesday cast doubt on next month’s summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump over joint air force drills taking place in South Korea, which it says are ruining the diplomatic mood.

The sudden announcement by the communist government – issued in the middle of the night in North Korea – said the military exercises were a “provocation” that could affect the fate of the unprecedented summit.

North Korea always reacts angrily to the joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises, considering them a rehearsal for an invasion. But this year, with the sudden burst of diplomacy, had appeared to be different.

The South Korean and U.S. militaries had scaled back and played down the exercises, declining the news media the usual access to the drills. North Korea said barely a word about the drills during the computer simulation exercises that took place through April.

But the two-week-long Max Thunder drills between the two countries’ air forces, an annual event that began Friday and involve about 100 warplanes including B-52 bombers and F-15K jets, have clearly struck a nerve.

North Korea suggested that the drills were putting the proposed summit between Trump and Kim, scheduled for June 12, in jeopardy.

“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,” said KCNA, the North’s Korean Central News Agency.

Trump and Kim are due to meet in Singapore, which would be the first time a North Korean leader had met with a sitting U.S. president.

Analysts said they were not surprised by this latest twist in what has been a year of diplomatic whiplash.

“Kim Jong Un releases three detainees. What does he get in return?” said Ken Gause, a North Korea leadership expert at CNA, a Virginia-based consulting firm.

“The U.S. and South Korea hold an exercise, which contains some strategic strike elements to it. U.S. officials can’t seem to get on the same page regarding denuclearization and what is required of North Korea,” he said. “At some point, North Korea was going to cry foul.”

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