A North Korean official on Wednesday threatened to cancel what is set to be an unprecedented and historic meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
North Korea Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement that the country will reconsider the summit if it’s going to be a “one-sided demand” for the country to give up its nuclear weapons, according to state-run North Korean media.
“We will appropriately respond to the Trump administration if it approaches the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting with a truthful intent to improve relations,” Kim said in the statement. “But we are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner and making a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes.”
The meeting is scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore.
“We have no information on that,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, according to NBC. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We need to verify it.”
North Korea also reportedly canceled scheduled talks with South Korea — a day before the two nations were set to meet.
According to North Korea’s Central News Agency, military drills between the US and South Korea were called a “provocation” and the so-called Max Thunder military exercises were in preparation for an invasion, South Korean News outlet Yonhap reported.
“We are aware of the South Korean media report. The United States will look at what North Korea has said independently, and continue to coordinate closely with our allies,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
Talks between the two Koreas were scheduled for Wednesday, a follow-up to the historic meeting between North Korean leader Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in along the Demilitarized Zone.
Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesperson, said the exercises were “recurring,” “annual,” and “routine.” Manning said the “purpose of the training” is to “maintain a foundation of military readiness.”
“While we will not discuss specifics, the defensive nature of these combined exercises has been clear for many decades and has not changed,” Manning said.
The sudden cancellation of talks comes after a thaw in decades-long hostile relationships between the two nations.
Three Americans who were detained in North Korea were released last week by Kim Jong Un’s regime.
The Max Thunder drills are joint military air exercises between the US and South Korea. Last year’s exercise involved 80 aircraft and around 1,500 military personnel.