North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has supervised a military drill and vowed to build an “invincible army”.
Mr Kim’s actions come despite the United States and South Korea calling off military exercises and US President Donald Trump hinting in a tweet at another summit between the two leaders.
At an Asian defence ministers’ conference in Bangkok on Sunday, US defence secretary Mark Esper said the United States has indefinitely postponed a joint military exercise with South Korea in an “act of goodwill” towards North Korea.
Mr. Chairman, Joe Biden may be Sleepy and Very Slow, but he is not a “rabid dog.” He is actually somewhat better than that, but I am the only one who can get you where you have to be. You should act quickly, get the deal done. See you soon! https://t.co/kO2k14lTf7— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2019
Diplomats have been pushing to resume stalled nuclear talks ahead of Mr Kim’s end-of-year deadline for the Trump administration to salvage the diplomacy.
North Korea has publicised two military drills in three days. A report said Mr Kim urged combat pilots to prepare against enemies “armed to the teeth” while attending a flight demonstration.
The Korean Central News Agency (KNCA) published photos that showed Mr Kim posing with North Korean air force soldiers who used white parachutes to land on a training field.
Mr Kim while supervising the drill said it’s “necessary to wage a drill without notice under the simulated conditions of real war” for improving his military’s war readiness and build it into an “invincible army,” KNCA said.
Mr Kim did not make any specific comment towards Washington or Seoul in the report.
North Korea has been ramping up missile tests and other military demonstrations in recent months in an apparent pressure tactic over the talks.
Negotiations have faltered since a February summit between Mr Kim and Mr Trump in Vietnam, which broke down after the US rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.
Mr Kim issued an end-of-year deadline for the Trump administration to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal while saying that North Korea would seek a “new path” if the United States persists with sanctions and pressure.
Working-level talks last month in Sweden broke down over what the North Koreans described as the Americans’ “old stance and attitude”.
North Korea last week said the United States has proposed a resumption of stalled nuclear negotiations in December. But North Korean negotiator Kim Myong Gil did not clearly say whether the North would accept the supposed US offer and said the country has no interest in talks if they are aimed at buying time without discussing solutions.
He said North Korea is not willing to make a deal over “matters of secondary importance” such as possible US offers to formally declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which was halted by a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, or establish a liaison office between the countries.