North Korea called off a planned high-level meeting with South Korea early today, just hours before it was to take place at the border village of Panmunjom, blaming Seoul’s ongoing joint drill with Washington as an “undisguised challenge” to the inter-Korean declaration signed at the South-North summit last month.
According to South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles relations with the North, Pyongyang informed Seoul at 12:30 a.m. today that it would “indefinitely suspend” the high-level meeting due to South Korea’s Max Thunder air force training exercise with the United States.
The joint drill, which kicked off last Friday, usually lasts two weeks and has been held annually since 2009.
North Korea also threatened to walk out of its first summit with the United States, slated for June 12 in Singapore.
In an English report issued by its official mouthpiece, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea said the U.S. will “have to think twice about the fate of the DPRK-U.S. summit” before raging a “provocative military racket” against the North “in league with south Korean authorities.” DPRK is the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“We will closely watch the ensuing behavior” of Seoul and Washington, the report continued.