The rhetoric from North Korea toward the US is creeping back toward levels that existed before the June summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump. An editorial in a state-run paper claims the US is staging air drills that simulate an invasion of Pyongyang in case denuclearization efforts fail, reports Reuters. "Such acts prove that the US is hatching a criminal plot to unleash a war against the DPRK and commit a crime which deserves merciless divine punishment," says the editorial. One US military official tells the Washington Post that the claim of such drills taking place in the Philippines is "far-fetched" and another uses the term "completely false." The harsh editorial comes two days after Trump canceled a visit to North Korea planned by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in part because Trump said he hadn't seen enough progress on denuclearization.
“We cannot but take a serious note of the double-dealing attitudes of the US as it is busy staging secret drills involving man-killing special units while having a dialogue with a smile on its face,” says the opinion piece in Rodong Sinmun. The issue is dove-tailing with another foreign policy concern of the White House: Last week, Trump said one reason North Korea wasn't making enough progress is that China isn't helping as much as it once did—because it's angry with the US over the two nations' trade dispute. Over the weekend, China's foreign ministry said the accusation shows a "total disregard of the facts." One impasse in US-Pyongyang talks: North Korea wants a declaration of peace from the US before denuclearization takes place, but the US says any such declaration will come after North Korea makes more progress in abandoning its arsenal. (Read more North Korea stories.)