30 minutes past midnight… and only ten hours before the high-level talks were to begin, North Korea notified South Korea abruptly that the meeting was canceled.
Pyongyang also released a lengthy statement through its state media.
It said it couldn't *help* but call off the talks, pointing to a combined air force drill by South Korea and the U.S. called Max Thunder, which started last Friday.
It said the drills are a rehearsal for a "preemptive air strike,” a challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation.
The North claimed that South Korea is breaking the two Koreas' promise to lower military tensions and therefore Seoul is to blame for the cancellation.
Pyongyang also lashed out at the U.S., saying Washington will have to think carefully about the fate of its own summit with the North,… leaving open the possibility of canceling the Kim-Trump summit as well.
Seoul expressed regret over Pyongyang's decision.
"North Korea made a unilateral decision to postpone the high-level talks right after notifying us of the date, citing our regular joint Air Force drills with the U.S. We regret this action as it does not correspond to the fundamental principles and objectives of the Panmunjom Declaration."
The government added that Seoul is still dedicated to fully carrying out the summit agreement and urged the North to quickly respond to its call for talks.
South Korea stressed that dialogue will have to continue anyway so the two sides can discuss the issues Pyongyang is now raising.
Seoul sent a message to North Korea on Wednesday that was similar to its official public response.
(Stand-up) ed: steve
“The two Koreas had a plethora of topics to discuss at the canceled talks, including the schedules for the inter-Korean military and Red Cross talks… which the leaders agreed at the summit to hold within May. But with a sudden about face from the North, it’s uncertain whether any of these talks could be held before the end of the month. Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News."