North Korea on Tuesday said looming US-South Korea military drills could impact the proposed resumption of nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington, and hinted that it could reconsider its moratorium on nuclear testing.
It was the first statement from Pyongyang on the talks since US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to their resumption at an impromptu meeting in the Demilitarized Zone in June, following months of deadlock between the two sides.
The joint drills have been held for years but were scaled down to facilitate dialogue with the North after Trump’s historic first summit with Kim in Singapore last year.
“If the military exercise really goes ahead, it would affect the DPRK-US working-level talks,” an unnamed foreign ministry spokesperson said in comments carried by state news agency KCNA, using the official acronym for North Korea.
The official described next month’s drills as “clearly a breach” of a joint statement signed by the leaders in Singapore and hinted that Pyongyang may resume weapons tests in response.
Pyongyang’s moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests was a commitment aimed at improving bilateral relations and “not a legal document inscribed on a paper”, the official said.
“With the US unilaterally reneging on its commitments, we are gradually losing our justifications to follow through on the commitments we made with the US as well.”
Trump and Kim’s latest meeting took place as negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington were at a deadlock, following a rocky negotiation process brokered by Seoul after a thaw in tensions in early 2018.
During the encounter, Trump stepped into North Korean territory in the border village of Panmunjom, becoming the first US president to set foot on North Korean soil.
– ‘Very provocative’ drills –
There are close to 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea, and their annual drills with tens of thousands of South Korean soldiers have always infuriated the North — with Pyongyang condemning the manoeuvres as provocative rehearsals for invasion.
But following the Singapore summit, Trump announced the suspension what he called Washington’s “very provocative” joint military exercises with South Korea.
A smaller-scale version of the exercises was last held in March, with more scheduled for August.
Washington has previously insisted on North Korea’s complete denuclearisation as a condition for lifting punishing US sanctions.
At the Singapore summit, the two adopted a vaguely-worded statement on “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula” and agreed to “establish new US-DPRK relations”.
But failure to reach an agreement over sanctions relief and what the North was willing to give in return led to the collapse of the leaders’ second summit, which was held in February in Hanoi.
Pyongyang had taken “humanitarian measures without conditions” to implement the Singapore statement, the foreign ministry spokesperson said Tuesday, in reference to the return of the remains of US service members killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.
Tensions were raised in May, during the standstill in negotiations between Trump and Kim, when North Korea fired short-range missiles for the first time since November 2017.
Mike Pompeo gets roasted alive for inventing ‘internal deliberations’ rule to stay mum on Giuliani
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that he could not discuss President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who has admitted having a role in talks with Ukraine.
"And we do know that so much — and this is by his own admission — that so much of this activity was being carried out by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani," ABC host George Stephanopoulos told Pompeo in a Sunday interview. "Was he acting with your blessing and supervision?"
"George, I’ve had one consistent policy as the Secretary of State to not talk about internal deliberations inside the administration," Pompeo replied. "I’m not going to change that policy this morning."
Andrew Yang 2020 — but not for president
After the fourth Democratic presidential debate last week, I realized the only enthusiastic endorsement I could make this far out was for Andrew Yang — but not for president. Instead, Yang should lead the Department of Commerce under whomever gets elected. because he has a 21st-century, visionary grasp of economics.
This article first appeared in Salon
American capitalism is a dead man walking, but don’t count on the corporate news media to tell you as the staggering continues before the final collapse. Signs of the existential crisis are as clear as the flaming orange kleptomaniac who occupies the White House. Rest assured, the business press dominated by the Wall Street pyramid builders will tell you that nobody saw it coming. They always do that after a crash comes.
‘Factually wrong’ Sean Duffy busted pushing ‘absurd conspiracy theory’ on his first day as a CNN contributor
CNN announced on Sunday that former Congressman Sean Duffy, who quit Congress to take care of nine children, has joined the network as a political analyst. He spent his first appearance repeating Republican talking points and a wild conspiracy theory.
During an appearance on CNN's State of the Union program, Duffy defended President Donald Trump by bringing up the conspiracy theory that Ukraine has control of a Democratic Party server.
"Hold on a second!" Duffy said in response to Republican analyst Amanda Carpenter, who argued that Trump can only blame himself if he gets impeached.