North Korea threatens to cancel US summit

May 17, 2018, 08:22 IST | Agencies

Pyongyang attacks US 'provocation' and says it will not be forced to give up its nuclear weapons

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un

North Korea threatened yesterday to cancel the forthcoming summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump if Washington seeks to push Pyongyang into unilaterally giving up its nuclear arsenal. It also cancelled high-level talks due on Wednesday with Seoul over the Max Thunder joint military exercises being held between the US and South Korea, denouncing the drills as a "rude and wicked provocation".

"If the US is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue," first vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement carried by state media. In that case, he added, Pyongyang would have to "reconsider" its participation at the summit, due in Singapore on June 12.

It also cancelled high-level talks with Seoul over the Max Thunder joint military exercises. Pics/AFP
It also cancelled high-level talks with Seoul over the Max Thunder joint military exercises. Pics/AFP

The North's arsenal is expected to be at the top of the agenda of the historic talks, but Pyongyang has long insisted it needs the weapons to defend itself against invasion by the US. Washington is pressing for its complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation. But so far the North has not given any public indication of what concessions it is offering, beyond euphemistic commitments to denuclearisation of the "Korean peninsula".

Pyongyang had "made clear on several occasions that precondition for denuclearisation is to put an end to anti-DPRK hostile policy and nuclear threats and blackmail of the US", minister Kim said. In the past, Pyongyang has demanded the withdrawal of the US troops stationed in the South, and an end to Washington's nuclear umbrella over its security ally. The minister also blasted US National Security Advisor John Bolton's talk of a "Libyan model" for North Korean denuclearisation.

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