Pyongyang urges cancellation US-S.Korea military drills


North Korea has urged South Korea to cancel its regular joint military exercises with the US, saying that a Pyongyang-Seoul leader-level summit remains unlikely in the short term, state media reported on Monday.

The joint military drills are “an undesirable prelude which seriously undermines the will of the top leaders of the North and the South wishing to see a step taken toward restoring mutual trust and which beclouds the way ahead of the north-south relations”, Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted Kim Yo-jong, the sister of leader Kim Jong-un, as saying on Sunday night.

“Our government and army will closely follow whether the South Korean side stages hostile war exercises in August or makes other bold decision,” she said.

North Korea has long denounced Seoul and Washington’s military drills as a rehearsal for an invasion of the North, Xinhua news agency reported.

Kim Yo-jong also accused the South Korean government of “inflating the significance” of last week’s restoration of the two Koreas’ cross-border communication lines, which had been severed for over a year.

Those inside and outside South Korea “are freely interpreting” the meaning of restoring communication lines, and “it is a premature hasty judgment” to say that there is a public opinion about the issue of the North-South summit, the KCNA reports quoted her as further saying.

“What I think is that the restoration of the communication liaison lines should not be taken as anything more than just the physical reconnection,” Kim Yo-jong said, adding that hasty speculation and groundless interpretation will only bring despair.