North Korea on Tuesday suggested it might call off its 20-month suspension of nuclear and missile tests because of summertime US-South Korean military drills that the North calls preparation for an eventual invasion, the AP reports. The statement by the North's Foreign Ministry comes during a general deadlock in nuclear talks, but after an extraordinary meeting of the US and North Korean leaders at the Korean border that raised hopes that negotiations would soon resume. The comments ramp up pressure on the United States ahead of any new talks. "It is crystal clear that it is an actual drill and a rehearsal of war aimed at militarily occupying our Republic by surprise attack and rapid dispatch of large-scale reinforcements," the foreign ministry of North Korea said, per Business Insider.
North Korea has had longstanding antipathy toward US-South Korean military cooperation, which the allies call defensive and routine but the North sees as hostile. At the dramatic June 30 meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump, the leaders agreed to resume nuclear diplomacy that had been stalled since their failed second summit in Vietnam in February. Despite the seeming mini-breakthrough, there has been little public progress since. North Korea wants widespread relief from harsh US-led sanctions in return for pledging to give up parts of its weapons program, but the US is demanding greater steps toward disarmament before it agrees to relinquish the leverage provided by the sanctions.
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