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N. Korea denounces U.S.-S. Korea joint drill as violation of Singapore declaration

North Korea 16:54 July 16, 2019

SEOUL, July 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Tuesday denounced the United States over its plan to hold a joint military exercise with South Korea, calling the move a clear violation of the spirit of the agreement reached between leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore last year.

Referring to the 19-2 Dong Maeng exercise slated for next month, the North's foreign ministry said in a statement that Pyongyang is running out of reasons to stick to the promises it made with Washington as Washington is not implementing its own promises, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"Less than one month after the Panmunjom meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the U.S., the U.S. is moving to resume the joint military exercise which was promised to be suspended by its leadership-level," the statement said.

The North said it is a "clear violation of the basic spirit" of the June 12 declaration signed by Trump and Kim, and a "blatant pressure" on Pyongyang.

"Our decision to suspend nuclear and inter-continental ballistic missile tests or the U.S. decision to suspend the joint military drills was a pledge to improve bilateral relations, not some kind of a legislated document carved on a paper," it said, in an apparent warning that it might not stick to the pledges.

The criticism came as the U.S. is pushing to hold working-level talks with the North to resume the denuclearization talks which have been stalled since the collapsed of the Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim in February.

According to diplomatic sources earlier this week, Washington has proposed to the North to hold a working-level meeting for denuclearization negotiations, but Pyongyang has yet to respond.

Trump and Kim agreed to resume working-level negotiations last month when they held a surprise meeting at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom.

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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