North Korea blasted Washington on Wednesday for its plans to conduct joint military exercises with Seoul next month — as negotiations remain deadlocked over the rogue regime’s nuclear arsenal.
“Our patience is nearing the limits and we won’t be sitting still and watching the United States’ reckless military move,” the state-run KCNA news agency quoted Foreign Ministry official Kwon Jong Gun as saying.
The diplomat blamed the joint aerial drills — which Pyongyang views as a rehearsal for an invasion — for “throwing cold water” over talks with Washington.
Kwon said the announcement of the joint exercises was equivalent to a “declaration for confrontation” that could imperil the diplomatic process.
“We have stressed on several occasions that the joint military drills will force us to reconsider the important steps that we have already taken,” he added.
Kwon was part of the North Korean delegation at the recent working-level nuclear talks with the US in Sweden, when Pyongyang walked away blaming Washington’s lack of “new and creative” solutions.
Negotiations have been at a standstill since the Hanoi summit between Kim Jong and President Trump broke up in February amid disagreement over sanctions relief and what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in return.
North Korea has since carried out a series of missile tests, the latest of them last week, when it said it fired a “super-large multiple rocket launcher.”
Kim has set an end-of-the-year deadline for denuclearization talks with Washington.
The two sides could hold another round of talks as soon as mid-November as Kim set sights on another summit with Trump in December, a South Korean officials said Monday after being briefed by an intelligence agency, according to Reuters.
Last year, the US and South Korea canceled the combined air exercise known as Vigilant Ace along with several other joint drills amid a rapid diplomatic thaw with dictator Kim Jong Un’s regime.
But Pentagon spokesman David Eastburn said this week that the US had “no plans to skip upcoming combined exercises” this year.
With Post wires
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