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Pyongyang threatens to freeze dialogue with Seoul, says North Korean official

May 18, 12:10 UTC+3 SEOUL

Earlier, Pyongyang cancelled the May 16 high-level talks with Seoul over the joint US-South Korean military drills

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© AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

SEOUL, May 18. /TASS/. North Korea can freeze dialogue with South Korea, said Ri Son-gwon, chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, as The Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported on Friday.

In an interview with the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) he said that "it will be difficult to sit down face-to-face with representatives of the South Korean regime" until the settlement of the situation that led to the suspension of high-level inter-Korean talks.

Pyongyang’s official criticized Seoul for participation in joint military exercises with the US, noting that the South supports Washington’s position that comes down to the need to continue to exert maximum pressure over the North until its total denuclearization. Commenting on the South’s proposal to discuss the drills problem, Ri Son-gwon called it "sheer impudence aimed at granting the rehearsal of invasion in North Korea the status of admissible actions."

The Chosun Ilbo notes that North Korea it thus trying to scale back South Korean - US military exercises, as well as influence the US in the issue of determining the method of denuclearization.

On Tuesday, the KCNA informed that North Korea’s authorities revoked negotiations with Seoul that were scheduled for May 16, because of the Max Thunder joint military exercises between the US and South Korea that had started on May 11. These drills were called in the report "a deliberate provocation that contradicts positive political development on the Korean Peninsula." Pyongyang also put into question the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that is due to take place on June 12 in Singapore.

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