In a dispatch issued on May 15, the North Korean state media agency KCNA has cancelled high-level talks with South Korea and — more significantly for the United States — suggested that it is considering cancelling the summit between leaders Kim Jong-un and President Trump planned for June 12. The reason given for these actions is North Korean discontent with the ongoing joint military drills (known as “Max Thunder”) involving South Korea and the United States.
The annual Max Thunder military exercise began on May 11 and is scheduled to last until May 25. This year’s drills involve some 100 U.S. and South Korea airplanes, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
“We have no choice but to stop the North-South high-level talk scheduled for the 16th under the ugly circumstances where there is indiscreet North-invading war fuss and fight rampage,” the KCNA statement said, adding, “The U.S. must contemplate on the fate of the scheduled Korea-U.S. head meeting with the provocative military situation created with the South Korean government. We will keep sharp eyes on the U.S. and the South Korean government’s future attitude.”