North Korea threatens to pull out of planned Trump-Kim meeting if pressured to give up its nukes

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Associated Press

North Korea's first vice foreign minister says the country has no interest in a summit with the United States if it's going to be a "one-sided" affair where it's pressured to give up its nukes.

It has also called off high-level talks with South Korea because of joint exercises with the United States.
Source: 1 NEWS

The statement by Kim Kye Gwan today came hours after the North abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with South Korea and threatened to do the same with a planned summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump next month.

Kim Kye Gwan criticised recent comments by Trump's top security adviser John Bolton and other US officials who have been talking about how the North should follow the "Libyan model" of nuclear disarmament and provide a "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement".

He also criticised other US comments that the North should completely abandon not only its nukes and missiles but also its biological and chemical weapons.

Kim says: "We will appropriately respond to the Trump administration if it approaches the North Korea-US summit meeting with a truthful intent to improve relations."

He adds: "But we are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner and making a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes and this would force us to reconsider whether we would accept the North Korea-US summit meeting."

Some analysts say bringing up Libya, which dismantled its rudimentary nuclear program in the 2000s in exchange for sanctions relief, would risk derailing any progress in negotiations with the North.

Kim Jong Un took power weeks after former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's gruesome death at the hands of rebel forces amid a popular uprising in October 2011. 

The North has frequently used Gadhafi's death to justify its own nuclear development in the face of perceived US threats.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Defense Ministry says the military exercises between Washington and Seoul will go on despite an angry reaction from North Korea that broke off a high-level meeting between the Koreas.

The ministry's spokeswoman said today the Max Thunder drills are chiefly about improving the skills of pilots and aren't attack exercises.

The drills, which began Monday and reportedly include some 100 aircraft, will continue through May 25.

The North has long denounced the military exercises between the rivals as invasion rehearsals.

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