North Korea has canceled high-level talks with South Korea today in protest of joint U.S.-South Korea military drills currently being staged on the peninsula. The cancellation of today’s talks also casts doubt on the proposed summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in less than a month. The North Korean state news agency called the U.S.-South Korea air force drills “deliberate military provocation.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also directly criticized Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for saying North Korea could follow the so-called Libyan model for nuclear abandonment. In a statement issued through the state news agency, Kim called Bolton’s idea an “awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers.”
The joint U.S.-South Korea two-week military drills, known as Max Thunder, involve fighter jets and aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. North Korea has long claimed the drills are rehearsals for a military invasion. On Tuesday, the White House attempted to downplay the threat that North Korea would cancel the proposed summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un. This is State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert.
Heather Nauert: “We are operating under the idea and the notion that the president’s meeting is going forward with Chairman—with Chairman Kim next month.”
Kylie Atwood: “And if this meeting doesn’t happen, will you still go forward?”
Heather Nauert: “That’s a hypothetical. That’s a hypothetical. You know, look, this news just came out. I can’t verify it just yet. It’s very early on in the process. But we’re planning ahead for our meetings.”