North Korea threatens to cancel Trump summit
North Korea has threatened to cancel a planned summit with US President Donald Trump, which is due to take place in Singapore on 12 June.
In a statement published by the state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea's vice-foreign minister, Kim Kye-gwan, said that the country may pull out of the planned meeting if the US attempts to insist that the country gives up its nuclear weapons: "If the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit."
The warning coincides with the reported suspension of talks with South Korea because of unhappiness over "provocative" joint military drills being conducted between South Korea and the US.
The statement also made the regime's opinion about US National Security Adviser John Bolton perfectly clear, stating: "We do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him". In the past, North Korea has also labelled Bolton "human scum" and a "bloodsucker".
The White House has responded to the comments with a thinly veiled threat, saying: "The president is ready if the meeting takes place. If it doesn't, we'll continue the maximum pressure campaign that's been ongoing". If it does go ahead, it will be the first ever face-to-face meeting between a North Korean leader and a US President.
A spokeswoman from the State Department, Heather Nauert, maintained that there was no disruption to the plans, commenting: "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."
The final date and location for the much-anticipated meeting was only confirmed earlier this week, following the release of three Americans from a prison in North Korea. At the time, President Trump said in a tweet: "We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!"
Although the inflammatory rhetoric may seem typical of the North Korean regime, the style of communication is also similar to Trump's own. In April, he said that he would "walk out" of the talks if they were not proving productive.