Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images
North Korea warned Tuesday that negotiations with the US could stall and that nuclear and missile testing could resume as the US and South Korea continue their planned military exercises.
An unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman accused the US of "unilateral non-compliance" in a statement released Tuesday by the Korean Central News Agency. The spokesman said that North Korea "is gradually losing our justification for fulfilling US commitments." and that verbal commitments are not a "legal document noted on a paper".
After President Trump's historic summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year in Singapore, Trump announced that it would stop major military exercises with South Korea. A gesture of goodwill to spur negotiations.
North Korea has not tested long-range missiles since 2017.
The letter from Tuesday comes after Trump suddenly visited Kim in June. They were sitting in the demilitarized zone between the two of Korea when the cameras flashed, and Trump became the first incumbent US president to set foot in North Korea. He called it "a great honor".
They agreed to resume talks, but little progress has been made in denuclearization, and no diplomatic meetings have been known since the June meeting.
The US South Korean combined military exercises, called Dong Maeng, are expected to take place in August.
North Korea has long denounced such military exercises as a threat to its sovereignty. "It is crystal clear that this is a real exercise and a repeat of the war, which aims to militarily occupy our Republic by surprise attacks," said the spokesman on Tuesday. Australian student Alek Sigley was released from custody in North Korea. Joint military exercises have been taking place for decades as the Korean Peninsula has been technically still at war since the signing of a ceasefire agreement in 1953.
Although the United States has vowed to "indefinitely suspend" certain exercises, these are smaller exercises to aid South Korean and US troops.
Pyongyang tested suspected short-range missiles in May. American officials distinguished between these tests and the launches of long-range ballistic missiles that could potentially reach the US mainland.