Military vehicles on parade in North Korea. The North is angry that military drills its southern neighbour has scheduled with the US will go ahead. Picture: REUTERS
Military vehicles on parade in North Korea. The North is angry that military drills its southern neighbour has scheduled with the US will go ahead. Picture: REUTERS

SEOUL — North Korea said on Tuesday it was suspending "high-level" talks with South Korea scheduled for Wednesday over military drills its southern neighbour has scheduled with the US.

It was not clear whether the suspension would have any broader impact on South Korea-North Korea talks or a planned meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump on June 12 in Singapore.

That summit until recently had looked impossible given the insults and threats the two leaders exchanged over the past year as tension rose over North Korea’s development of nuclear missiles. 

Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the US State Department said it had no information from North Korea about threat to cancel the summit and that it continued to plan for that meeting.

"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," Yonhap quoted KCNA as saying.

"The US 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."

South Korea’s Yonhap New Agency had earlier reported that the two countries planned to send five officials each to talks at the border village of Panmunjom to carry out agreements made last month when Kim met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The military exercise, known as "Max Thunder", is a "deliberate military provocation", according to a statement from KCNA, North Korea’s state-run news agency. The statement went on to say North Korea would watch the "future attitudes of the US and South Korean authorities" closely.

Bloomberg

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