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18 May 2018, 05:42 | Myron Mathis
North Korean defectors staged a protest against the regime this monthKIM HONG-JI REUTERS
A senior U.S. official told Associated Press news agency that there was a direction from the Oval Office to White House aides and other United States national security agencies to downplay the North Korean threats and not "take the bait" by overreacting to the provocation. "If we show weakness, if the minute Kim Jong-un threatens we go along, he will continue to take advantage of us". The North Korean news agency KCNAsaid the Max Thunder exercises are a "rehearsal for invasion" of North Korea and a provocation. "If it doesn't, we'll continue the maximum pressure campaign that's been ongoing", said spokesperson Sarah Sanders.
"We have not heard anything from that 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".
"These exercises are part of the ROK-US Alliance's routine, annual training programme to maintain a foundation of military readiness", he said.
North Korea's ruling party newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, has lashed out at attempts by Tokyo to urge Washington to address its nuclear and missile programs at a planned U.S. Kim, however, was earlier quoted as saying while meeting Moon's top security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, that he understood the need for South Korea to resume its joint military drills with the U.S. that were temporarily suspended during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Games held in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The sudden withdrawal was in response to annual combined South Korean and US military drills, similar to one conducted previous year. Following the visit, North Korea released three American citizens.
Pyongyang may reconsider its decision to participate in a summit with the U.S. in case Washington continues demanding unilateral denuclearization, North Korean First Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said on Wednesday.
The statement by First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan on Wednesday came hours after the North abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with South Korea and threatened to do the same with the planned summit between Mr Kim and Mr Trump. After announcing early Wednesday that it was pulling out of high-level talks with Seoul because of a new round of U.S.
The North Korean leader took power weeks after former Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi's gruesome death at the hands of rebel forces amid a popular uprising in October, 2011. Then, the North issued a statement that if the US demands that the regime dismantle its nuclear arsenal before the summit, then there will be no summit.
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