North Korea said that it will not engage in the dialogue if it was forced into “unilateral nuclear abandonment” a likely reference to denuclearisation as a key United States goal.
On Tuesday, the blunt warning came as the United States was still grappling with the implications of an earlier report in North Korea’s official news agency that called the ongoing US-South Korean air force exercises in the region a “provocation” that could have consequences for the talks.
“If the Trump administration is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-US summit,” he said. The statement was carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“This exercise targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula,” it said.
“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,” the news agency added.
“We are aware of the South Korean media report,” said Sarah Sanders, the president’s press secretary. “The United States will look at what North Korea has said independently, and continue to coordinate closely with our allies.”