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(LEAD) N. Korea cancels high-level talks with S. Korea over military drill

All Headlines 03:54 May 16, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with details from 3rd para)

SEOUL, May 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Wednesday it is canceling high-level talks with South Korea planned for later in the day due to ongoing military exercises between the South and the United States.

The North's Korean Central News Agency said the Max Thunder drills between the South Korean and U.S. air forces are a rehearsal for invasion of the North and a provocation amid warming inter-Korean ties.

It also called into question whether next month's summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump can go ahead as planned.

"This exercise targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula," the KCNA report said. "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 two-week exercise kicked off Friday, involving some 100 warplanes, including eight F-22 radar-evading fighters and an unspecified number of B-52 bombers and F-15K jets.

The high-level talks were meant to take place on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss follow-up measures to the two Korean leaders' summit last month.

The summit agreement, billed the Panmunjom Declaration, called for formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War within the year and pursuing "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula.
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