Joint military exercise threatens the planned North Korea summit, scheduled for next month in Singapore. North Korea officials warned the US that they would “have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-US summit in light of this provocative military ruckus.”
According to Yonhap News Agency from Seoul, Kim Jong Un’s government claims that the exercise is a just a preparation for the invasion of their country. This is standard rhetoric used by Pyongyang whenever such drills are conducted and it may just be a routine warning.
North Korea conducted a series of long-range ballistic missile teste last year which caused an uproar in the international community and triggered a new wave of sanctions against the rogue state.
Recently, the relations between Pyongyang and the West seemed to be going in the right direction, with Kim Jong Un becoming the first North Korean leader to visit South Korea in Demilitarized Zone. He was hosted by South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, and they had pleasant and productive talks. The planned summit between United States President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un was another stepping stone in establishing a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The problem here is the joint military exercise that could jeopardize the meeting of the leaders of two states. The military drill in question is dubbed Max Thunder and it is held annually. It includes some 1.500 air force personnel from both the United States and South Korea and is scheduled to last two weeks.
The United States Department of State expressed surprise at the news of possible cancelation and claimed it has no information on the possibility of cancelation of the summit. Spokeswoman Heather Nauert advised patience. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We need to verify it,” she said.
If the meeting, planned for June 12th in Singapore indeed gets canceled, President Trump’s foreign policy will suffer another blow, after this week’s debacle in Jerusalem, where protests against the opening of the new United States embassy have left almost 60 Palestinians dead and several thousand wounded.