North Korea suggests it may resume nuclear, missile tests

A South Korean man has been making frequent visits to the border according to local authorities. File

A South Korean man has been making frequent visits to the border according to local authorities. File

North Korea on Tuesday said looming US-South Korea military drills could impact the proposed resumption of nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington, and hinted that it could reconsider its moratorium on nuclear testing.

"With the U.S. unilaterally reneging on its commitments, we are gradually losing our justification to follow through on the commitments we made with the U.S.", North Korea's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday in a statement released through state media.

The European Union has renewed sanctions on North Korea in response to the latter's nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs, a statement from the USA council said.

"The U.S. -South Korean military exercises have already been toned down in scale and substance in order not to provoke North Korea", said Shin Beom-chul, a researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump met in the demilitarized zone between the Koreas on June 30.

The statement also said Pyongyang was not bound by any legal documents to suspend nuclear and missile tests.

The statement serves as a reminder of North Korea's longstanding antipathy toward US-South Korean military cooperation, which the allies call defensive and routine but the North sees as hostile.

"With the U.S. unilaterally reneging on its commitments, we are gradually losing our justifications to follow through on the commitments we made with the USA as well", said the statement, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. The negotiations were expected to resume in the coming weeks.

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While the main annual South Korean-U.S. exercises have been stopped, they still hold smaller drills.

North Korea has long criticized U.S.

"If realised, it will affect the working-level talks", said officials.

Pyeongyang says Washington is trying to break the spirit of the first summit past year in Singapore. and is blatantly trying to pressure Pyeongyang.

But failure to reach an agreement over sanctions relief and what the North was willing to give in return led to the collapse of the leaders' second summit, which was held in February in Hanoi.

"We will make a decision regarding working-level talks with the United States while watching USA moves going forward", KCNA quoted the spokesman as saying.

"I hope the North Koreans will come to the table with ideas that they didn't have the first time", Pompeo said in Monday's radio interview.

North Korea has frozen missile and nuclear bomb testing since 2017, but USA officials believe Pyongyang has continued to expand its arsenal by producing bomb fuel and missiles.

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