Written by Ashley Koh

Uh-oh, what happened now?

North Korea cancelled its highly anticipated talks with South Korea two hours before the two nations were scheduled to meet on May 16. The last-minute cancellation by North Korea was to protest the joint military drills between the US and South Korea. The large-scale drills, called ‘Max Thunder’ (sounds like a horrible B-list movie if you ask me), involves over 100 warplanes, 8 F-22 stealth fighter planes and an unspecified number of B-52 bombers that can drop nuclear bombs. North Korea labeled the drills to be provocations against the North, while the US and South Korea have maintained that the drills are purely for defensive purposes that were based on a mutual defense agreement signed after the Korean war armistice in 1953. The cancelled talks were originally intended to make significant progress in developing positive relations, with both Koreas discussing on denuclearization, turning the armistice into a peace treaty, engaging in four-way talks involving the US and China and ending ‘hostile activities’ (sounds kind of ironic to me). In response to the cancellation, South Korea said that the ‘unilateral move’ made by the North was ‘regrettable’ and that the drills did not ‘conform to the spirits’ of the initial agreement between both Koreas.

What about the other talks?

Following the joint military drill, North Korea also threatened to cancel the unprecedented talk with Trump,  due to take place in Singapore on June 12. Kim Jong-un has also expressed its refusal to engage in talks if it was based on ‘one-sided’ demands to give up nuclear weapons, and that Trump would remain as a ‘failed president’ if he follows the steps of his predecessors (ouch). However, the US State Department said it received no notification from the North to cancel the talks and that they will continue to plan the summit as per normal.  

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