In an unprecedented move, North Korea expressed strong reservations against the US-South Korean military exercise “Max Thunder” and cancelled high-level talks with South Korea. It also cast doubt on the possibility of the upcoming Summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump in June. North Korean response to the military exercise has done a big blow to the months of warm relations which had begun with the Winter Olympics 2018.
Max Thunder involves US stealth fighters and B-52 bombers are being carried out with an aim to boost the capability of the drivers. The South Korean defence ministry has however stated that the drills will continue as planned.
The cancellation of Summit will be a huge blow to Trump diplomacy. Many international experts have also expressed doubts over any successful outcome of the Summit primarily because of the North Korean ambiguity over giving up on the nuclear arsenal which it had stated was capable of hitting US mainland. Trump administration had always ignored such speculations and has been positive about the Summit.
The official broadcaster of North Korean KCNA has labelled the military drills as a major provocation and a challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration. It said that the exercise is a deliberate military provocation which runs counter to the positive warming developments on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea also clarified that it will not accept unilateral disarmament in exchange for economic assistance from the US. It stated that North Korea will never enter into such an arrangement.
The recent turbulence has raised the doubts and dashed the hope of a fruitful summit with North Korea and has put Trump administration in a tough spot over the US.