North Korea again lashes out at 'incompetent' South Korea over military drills with US

Students hold posters with pictures of South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un during a pro-unification rally ahead of the upcoming summit between North and South Korea in Seoul, South Korea April 26, 2018. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team South Korea May 17, 2018, 07.56 PM (IST)

After making high-profile peace overtures towards South Korea and amid a peace summit with Trump next month, North Korea's minister again lashed out at its "ignorant" neighbour in the south denouncing it as "incompetent".

Ri Son Gwon, chairman of North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification, criticised the South for conducting joint military drills once again with the US after earlier warnings to pull out of talks with Trump in Singapore next month.

"Unless the serious situation which led to the suspension of the north-south high-level talks is settled, it will never be easy to sit face to face again with the present regime of South Korea," North's KCNA news agency said in a statement.

North Korea had said earlier that it might not attend the June 12 summit with Trump and South Korean president Moon if the military drills do not stop and the US on its part continues to prod it to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

"On this opportunity, the present South Korean authorities have been clearly proven to be an ignorant and incompetent group devoid of the elementary sense of the present situation," Ri's statement said.

Despite this, the US said it continues to prepare for next month's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 

Heather Nauert, State Department spokeswoman, said: "we will continue to go ahead and plan the meeting between president Trump and Kim Jong-Un."

Meanwhile, Trump will host South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House next week with efforts underway by both countries to bring Kim to the negotiating table in order to help "denuclearise" the Korean peninsula.

However, North Korea's current mood has made several experts sceptical. Kim's regime is especially against US-South Korean "Max Thunder" air combat drills. The exercise reportedly involves US stealth fighters, B-52 bombers and "nuclear assets".