North Korea on Tuesday warned the United States that a planned meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is in jeopardy because of joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, USA Today reported.
It also cancelled its scheduled meeting with South Korea over the military drills, which North Korea believed to be carried out in preparation for an invasion, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap.
“We have no choice but to suspend the North-South high-level talks planned for the 16th amid this menacing situation where an indiscriminate ruckus to invade the North and a confrontational mayhem are occurring in the South,” KCNA, North Korea’s state news agency said, according to Yonhap.
“The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities,” it continued.
U.S. officials said they have not been contacted by North Korea regarding the military drills or about cancelling the summit between Trump and Kim.
“We will continue to go ahead and plan the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
She also noted that Kim had “said previously that he understands the need and the utility” of the joint exercises.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterated that the U.S. would continue to plan for the meeting, but said the administration will “look at what North Korea has said independently” as it moves forward.
The Pentagon issued a statement after the possible cancellation was reported, stating that the nature of the joint exercises “has been clear for many decades and has not changed.”
“The purpose of the training is to enhance the ROK-U.S. Alliance’s ability to defend the ROK and enhance interoperability and readiness,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said.
Last month, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in swore to end the decades-long Korean War and work toward their “common goal” of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. It is unclear how the drills will have affected this pledge.
President Trump is set to meet with Kim in Singapore on June 12.
The meeting would mark the first between a sitting U.S. president and the North Korean leader.