North Korea abruptly canceled talks with South Korea scheduled for Wednesday in addition to also also threatened to walk away via talks with the U.S., according to media reports.
North Korea’s state-run Central News Agency said the ongoing joint military drills between the U.S. in addition to also also South Korea are a “provocation” in addition to also also a preparation for an invasion, according to a Reuters report which cites South Korean news outlet Yonhap.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry said which received a fax Wednesday via the head of the North Korean delegation for the high-level talks, who said his country is usually “indefinitely canceling the planned high-level inter-Korean talks” due to the military exercises.
“Accordingly, the scheduled inter-Korean high-level talks will not happen today in addition to also also [the South Korean] government’s response will be announced after discussion among the related ministries,” the Unification Ministry said.
The move comes as U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an unprecedented summit.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “We are aware of the South Korean media report. The United States will look at what North Korea has said independently, in addition to also also continue to coordinate closely with our allies.”
The Associated Press, citing Yonhap, reported North Korea is usually also threatening to cancel the talks with the U.S. because of the joint military exercises.
The U.S. State Department said which had not received any information via North Korea about the threat to cancel the June summit between Trump in addition to also also Kim, Reuters reported.
“Kim Jong Un had said previously which he understands the need in addition to also also the utility of the United States in addition to also also the Republic of Korea continuing in its joint exercises,” said Heather Nauert, a State Department spokeswoman, in a briefing shortly after the North Korean announcement.
The department will continue to plan for the summit, which is usually currently scheduled to be held in Singapore on June 12.
The Pentagon defended the military exercises in a statement via Defense Department spokesman U.S. Army Col. Rob Manning on Tuesday.
“Republic of Korea (ROK) in addition to also also U.S. military forces are currently engaged inside recurring, annual ROK-U.S. spring exercises, to include exercises Foal Eagle 2018 in addition to also also Max Thunder 2018. These defensive exercises are part of the ROK-U.S. Alliance’s routine, annual training program to maintain a foundation of military readiness. The purpose of the training is usually to enhance the ROK-U.S. Alliance’s ability to defend the ROK in addition to also also enhance interoperability in addition to also also readiness. While we will not discuss specifics, the defensive nature of these combined exercises has been clear for many decades in addition to also also has not changed.”
Equity markets, which were already declining, ticked further down briefly following the news, while spot gold prices received a slight boost.