15 May, 2018
North Korea has cancelled a high-level meeting with South Korea over its joint military exercises with the United States.
The North also is raising questions about the upcoming meeting between its leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.
The two Koreas were set to meet Wednesday at the border village of Panmunjom. The sides are expecting to plan military and Red Cross discussions in an effort to reduce tension. They also planned to discuss reuniting families separated by the Korean War.
South Korea's Yonhap new agency reported that the North cancelled hours before the meeting. The report questioned whether the June 12 meeting in Singapore between Kim and Trump would happen as planned.
North Korea said the reason for the cancellation was the ongoing U.S.-South Korea military exercises. The two-week military exercises started Friday.
North Korea's Korean Central News Agency said, "The United States will also have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit in light of this provocative military ruckus jointly conducted with the South Korean authorities."
Heather Nauert is a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department. She said the U.S. had no information from North Korea about plans to cancel the meeting. She added the U.S. continues to plan for the meeting.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
South Korea's National Security Office head Chung Eui-yong met with Kim in March. He said the North Korean leader understood that "routine" joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S. would continue.
But North Korea did not publicly withdraw its long-standing demand for an end to joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.
On Tuesday, North Korea's state newspaper also said it is "unacceptable and "extremely rude" for the U.S. to voice concerns about human rights abuses. Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department issued a statement voicing concerns over human rights abuses in North Korea.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on AP, Reuters and Yonhap news reports. Mario Ritter was the editor.
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Words in This Story
deliberations –n. careful thought or discussion done to make a decision
summit –n. a meeting between leaders of two or more countries
provocative –adj. causing discussion, thought, or argument
ruckus –n. a noisy argument, fight
routine –n. describing a regular way of doing things