As the world has slowly grown hopeful for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Korean Peninsula, North Korea has once again reminded the world why peace in that region has been so difficult. North Korea has released a statement that the state of the peace talks has been put in jeopardy by a joint U.S. and South Korean military exercise.
“The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities,” the North Korean Central News Agency said in a statement.
The military exercise was planned months in advance of the Korean peace talks and has happened for years.
“We have not heard anything from [the North Korean government] or the government of South Korea to indicate that we would not continue conducting these exercises or that we would not continue planning for our meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un next month,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
“What we have to go on is what Kim Jong Un had said before, that he understands and appreciates the importance to the United States of having these joint exercises.” Nauert went on to affirm that the talks are still scheduled to happen despite the incident.
In all likelihood, the move was an attempt by North Korea to set the agenda for some concessions on behalf of America and South Korea. Removing or limiting the military exercises on their border has been a priority for the Kim regime since his father was in office.
Overall, this news adds fuel to some foreign policy experts grumblings about the talks. They have cautioned that North Korea has backed out of peace talks in the past and that this is evidence that they are still a rogue actor on the world stage.
Another point of concern has been about the nature of the talks. Typically, these talks are helmed by low-level diplomats and after years of negotiations, leaders are brought in at the final stages to cement the deal.
The Trump Administration has decided to have the leaders meet for talks merely a few months after the initial talks began earlier this year. The specter of a weak deal or a misinformed deal has been raised by the planning behind these talks.
Regardless, a peace treaty between North and South Korea would bring an end to the half-century-old conflict and would remain a major hallmark of diplomacy, and the Trump Administration, if passed.
H/T: The Hill