PYONGYANG: The United States must end its joint exercises with Seoul “once and for all” to facilitate dialogue with Pyongyang, North Korea said on Tuesday, just days after the allies postponed planned drills.
The US and South Korea said on Sunday they would delay annual joint aerial exercises slated for this month in an act of “goodwill” after months of deadlocked nuclear talks.
Pyongyang has long protested the joint drills, which it condemns as preparations for invasion, and Seoul and Washington last year canceled several training sessions in the wake of the Singapore summit between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
But Kim Yong-chol, a senior North Korean official who formerly led talks with the US, said the weekend postponement was irrelevant.
“We demand that the US quit the drill or stop it once and for all,” Kim Yong-chol said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.
“The suspension of the drill does not mean ensuring peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and is not helpful to the diplomatic efforts,” he added.
North Korea had “no intention” to sit down with the “tricky US” and would not return to talks “before the complete and irrevocable withdrawal of its hostile policy.”