North Korea threatens to cancel Trump-Kim summit over drills

North Korea threatens to cancel Trump-Kim summit over drills

North Korea threatens to cancel Trump-Kim summit over drills

North Korea threatened Wednesday to withdraw from the June 12 summit in Singapore if Washington seeks to push Pyongyang into unilaterally giving up its nuclear arsenal.

Trump has said it is unclear whether the summit will go ahead but he would continue to insist on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

January 1: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says in his New Year's address that he has a nuclear button on his desk, but also calls for improved relations with the South. Trump responds that he has a bigger and more powerful nuclear button, "and my Button works!" "He'll be there and he'll be ready".

The statement was attributed to first vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan and carried by state media KCNA.

Tensions have risen in recent weeks over the steps needed for the United States to ease sanctions against North Korea: The Trump administration wants Kim to give up his weapons before getting anything in return, while the regime favors a more phased approach.

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"The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit", North Korea's official KCNA news agency said.

A statement from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Tuesday said the White House was "aware of the South Korean media report" and that the USA "will look at what North Korea has said independently, and continue to coordinate closely with our allies". He also criticized Trump's top security adviser John Bolton and other US officials for trying to force the North to follow the Libyan model.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said he is concerned that talks are "really being oversimplified" by the White House.

Ben Cardin, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged a continued focus on quiet diplomacy, not North Korea's often-noisy rhetoric.

KCNA called the Maximum Thunder exercises "the largest-ever and a reflection of the invariable stand of the USA and South Korea to persist in the "maximum pressure and sanctions" against the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]".

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At a dramatic summit last month in Panmunjom, the truce village in the DMZ, Kim and the South's President Moon Jae-in pledged to pursue a peace treaty to formally end the conflict, and reaffirmed their commitment to denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

Pyongyang also raised hopes ahead of the USA summit by announcing it will destroy its nuclear testing site next week.

"The North Koreans aren't happy with what they're seeing and hearing", he said.

Fox News, citing Yonhap News, reported on Tuesday, May 15, North Korea claimed that the military drills were a rehearsal for a potential invasion of the country.

The exercises were "not provocative" and would continue, she added.

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