Report: N. Korea threatens to cancel U.S. summit

Report: N. Korea threatens to cancel U.S. summit
Posted at 3:16 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-15 12:10:39-04

(RNN) - North Korea canceled a meeting with South Korea set for Wednesday and threatened to cancel next month's summit with the United States, according to a South Korean news agency.

Military drills between the U.S. and South Korea are the point of contention that could derail the meeting. North Korea believes them to be a rehearsal for invasion.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are slated to meet on June 12 in Singapore. When the meeting was first agreed to in March, relations seemed to be thawing between the two nations that have spent decades in conflict.

Kim recently crossed into the demilitarized zone for talks with South Korea President Moon Jae-in.

North Korea also said it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to dismantle its nuclear test site.

“[We] no longer need any nuclear tests, mid-range and intercontinental ballistic rocket tests, and that the nuclear test site in northern area has also completed its mission," Kim said, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

A North Korea source, talking to CNN, said that Kim has finally decided to open a new chapter for his nation.

Trump hailed the development.

“The North Korean side clearly stated its willingness to denuclearize," the office of President Moon said in a statement in early March.

The North's conditions, according to the statement, include the elimination of the "military threat" to its territory and "its security guaranteed." It did not elaborate how that would be achieved, though the North generally considers the more than 20,000 American troops stationed in the South an unacceptable presence.

The North has made rapid progress in its drive for nuclear arms in the last few years. The country has conducted six confirmed nuclear tests since 2006, half of them since 2016.

Last year the North conducted its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. In November it tested a missile, the Hwasong-15, believed to be capable of hitting anywhere on the U.S. mainland.

The North still needs to perfect the process of producing nuclear warheads small enough to fit onto missiles.

In January the CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, predicted it would take North Korea just "a handful of months" to achieve that and have the capability of striking the U.S. with nuclear weapons.

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