North Korea Warns U.S. to Quit Military Drills With South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Tuesday escalated its pressure on the United States to cancel a joint military drill with South Korea scheduled for next month, warning that it could scuttle efforts to resume dialogue with Washington and even prompt the North to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests.

The vaguely worded threats were contained in two separate statements from the North Korean Foreign Ministry on Tuesday that complained about the military drill, called 19-2 Dong Maeng.

The North said the planned exercise undermined a mood for dialogue created when its leader, Kim Jong-un, met with President Trump at Panmunjom, a village on the inter-Korean border, on June 30. In the hurriedly arranged meeting, the two leaders agreed to restart working-level talks on the terms of denuclearizing North Korea.

On Tuesday, North Korea warned that if the joint military drill takes place next month, it “will affect” efforts to resume dialogue. At Panmunjom, Mr. Trump said dialogue could resume in two or three weeks. But the North on Tuesday appeared to link the resumption of such talks to the cancellation of the military drill.

“We will make a decision regarding working-level talks with the United States while watching U.S. moves going forward,” a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman told the North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday.

For decades, North Korea has campaigned to stop joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, calling them rehearsals for invasion.

In April of last year, Mr. Kim announced a halt to his country’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, paving the way for his first meeting with Mr. Trump, held in Singapore in June last year.

After the meeting, Mr. Trump vowed to halt major joint military drills with South Korea. But the South Korean and American militaries have agreed to hold smaller and reconfigured joint drills, and 19-2 Dong Maeng is one of them.

On Tuesday, North Korea said the new drill would “violate the spirit” of the Singapore agreement. It even indicated that its decision to suspend nuclear and ICBM tests was contingent on the absence of joint military drills between the United States and the South.

“As the U.S. is unilaterally reneging on its commitments, we are gradually losing our rationale to stay in the commitments we made with the U.S.,” the North said. It noted that neither Washington’s vow to cancel major exercises nor its moratorium on nuclear and missile tests was a legally binding commitment “inscribed in paper.”

The Singapore meeting ended with a vague agreement in which Mr. Trump committed to build “new” relations and provide security guarantees for North Korea in return for Mr. Kim’s agreement to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

But when Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump met again in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February, they failed to agree on how to implement their earlier deal.

The Hanoi talks collapsed when Mr. Kim demanded that Washington lift all major sanctions against his country in return for the dismantling of its nuclear complex in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, the capital. Mr. Trump insisted on a more comprehensive breaking up of the North’s nuclear programs, including its nuclear weapons and missiles.

Despite the failure in Hanoi, both Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump have often boasted of their mutual “friendship” and willingness to engage in diplomacy. In their meeting on the inter-Korean border last month, they agreed to resume working-level dialogue to help narrow the wide differences between their governments.

But such talks have yet to take place. By issuing a vague threat to resume nuclear and missile tests, North Korea appeared to put pressure on Washington even before bilateral talks resumed.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry’s statements came hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged North Korea to change its demands while reconfirming Washington’s goal of achieving the “final fully verifiable denuclearization” of North Korea.

“I hope the North Koreans will come to the table with ideas that they didn’t have the first time,” Mr. Pompeo said in an interview on Monday on “The Sean Hannity Show” on Fox News.

“We hope we can be a little more creative, too,” Mr. Pompeo said. “The president’s mission hasn’t changed: to fully and finally denuclearize North Korea in a way that we can verify.”

Source

more recommended stories

  • Putting a Positive Spin on Oil Exploration in the Arctic Refuge

    When the Trump administration first pushed.

  • On Politics: Trump Returns to N.R.A.’s Side

    Gun rights advocates have waged an.

  • President Trump Cancels Trip to Denmark After Greenland Spat

    WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday.

  • Why the 2020 Criminal Justice Debate Is Completely Different

    Marijuana would be decriminalized, mass incarceration.

  • As Wildfires Get Worse, Insurers Pull Back From Riskiest Areas

    “It’s not necessarily the property that’s.

  • Julián Castro Qualifies for the Next Democratic Debate

    The former housing secretary Julián Castro.

  • Trump’s Rollback of Auto Pollution Rules Shows Signs of Disarray

    That means the process is now.

  • On Politics: Trump Prepares for Economic Trouble

    • Justice Department lawyers told the.

  • Jill Biden, Stressing Trump Matchup, Makes a Blunt Case for Her Husband

    Jill Biden laid out the political.

  • Apologies and Scorn Greet News of a Book by Mark Halperin

    Reports of a new book deal.

  • ‘I Am Sorry for Harm I Have Caused,’ Warren Tells Native American Forum – Video

    Channels & Shows Home Search U.S..

  • Elizabeth Warren to Appear at Native American Forum

    SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Senator Elizabeth.

  • ‘I Can Still Smell Him’: For 4 Legislators, This Law Is Personal

    Yuh-Line Niou told no one for.

  • On Politics: Trump’s Economic Conspiracy

    As the economy shows ominous signs,.

  • In Economic Warning Signals, Trump Sees Signs of a Conspiracy

    And signs of damage from Mr..

  • Julián Castro’s Obama Moment – The New York Times

    Mr. Castro divided his remarks into.

  • After Trump Body Shames Him, Supporter Says ‘I Love the Guy’

    Sometimes the self-declared greatest counterpuncher in.

  • U.S. Can Block Migrants Seeking Asylum, but Only in Some States, Appeals Court Rules

    A federal appeals court said Friday.

  • House Panel Will End Recess Early for Gun Safety Votes

    WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee,.

  • Lawmakers Accuse State Dept. of Defying Federal Law by Missing Deadlines for Yemen Reports

    WASHINGTON — In defiance of federal.

  • Debate Flares Over Afghanistan as Trump Considers Troop Withdrawal

    Skeptics say it is naïve to.

  • Trump’s Pittsburgh Speech Was a Paying Gig for Audience

    Thousands of union workers at a.

  • How Stephen Miller Rode an Anti-Immigration Wave to the White House

    Once a lonely cause, restrictionism had.

  • Israel’s Alliance With Trump Creates New Tensions Among American Jews

    A rabbi in St. Louis Park,.

  • In D.C., Trading Politics for a Paddle

    We launched into the Potomac River.

  • Joseph Kennedy III Said to Be Eying Edward Markey’s Massachusetts Senate Seat

    Mr. Kennedy delivered the Democratic response.

  • Eyeing Greenland, Trump Again Mixes Real Estate With Diplomacy

    WASHINGTON — Go ahead and file.

  • Peace Road Map for Afghanistan Will Let Taliban Negotiate Women’s Rights

    WASHINGTON — Roya Rahmani is neither.

  • After Trump Body Shames Him, Supporter Says ‘I Love the Guy’

    Sometimes the self-declared greatest counterpuncher in.

  • Fact-Checking Trump’s New Hampshire Rally

    What Trump Said “We have incredible.

  • Israel Says Rashida Tlaib Can Visit to See Her Grandmother

    This is a developing story. Please.

  • On Politics: Israel Denies Entry to Congresswomen

    • Despite ringing declarations of support.