North Korea has pulled out of high-level talks with South Korea scheduled for Wednesday and cast doubt over next month’s landmark summit with the US, in response to joint military exercises being conducted by the two allies.
State media on Wednesday said “the exercise targeting us . . . is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean peninsula”.
“The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-US summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities,” said the state-run Korea Central News Agency.
The rhetoric reflects a return to North Korea’s usual hectoring tone, which had been remarkably calm as detente unfolded over recent months.
The report from KCNA will compound western scepticism about Pyongyang’s sincerity about its desire for peace, and that it is seeking to use diplomacy to manipulate its adversaries.
Kim Jong Un, the country’s supreme leader, was set to meet Donald Trump on June 12 in Singapore for a summit that the US president hoped would spur the denuclearisation of the reclusive regime.
Earlier this month, Mr Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas, with both leaders reaffirming their desire for reduced hostilities and a peninsula free of nuclear weapons.