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What are real messages by Pyongyang in its sudden cancellation of high-level inter-Korean talks? Updated: 2018-05-17 04:07:26 KST

Most experts on North Korea seem to agree that the Max Thunder drill itself was simply used as an excuse for Pyongyang to cancel Wednesday's inter-Korean talks, rather than the real reason for the last minute cancelation.
They point out that North Korea already knew about the two-week joint air force exercise between the South and the U.S., which began last Friday, and they didn't bring up the issue at that time.
Experts say that the North's real intentions seem to be two-pronged.
First, the experts say that North Korea wants to show its disapproval of Seoul and Washington's decision to deploy eight advanced F-22 fighter jets during this year's drills, which is the largest number ever.
Also, Pyongyang seems to want to express its absolute disapproval of any attempts to hurt the North's ruling regime.
Part of Pyongyang's Wednesday statement mentioned South Korea (quote) "allowing human scum to hurl mud at the dignity of the supreme leadership,". which appears to be referring to former North Korean diplomat and defector Thae Yong-ho.
Thae held a press conference to promote his new book at the National Assembly building in Seoul on Monday, where he slammed the North's ruling regime.
It appears that Pyongyang is criticizing the South Korean government's decision to allow Thae to publicly speak out about the North.

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"I think Pyongyang's cancellation of high-level inter-Korean talks sends a message that: first, it will never allow the deployment of U.S. strategic assets on the Korean peninsula. And second, it won't sit idle over any attempts to damage the dignity of the North's ruling regime."

However, most experts agree that considering the level of their complaints, North Korea is unlikely to disrupt the scheduled North Korea-U.S. summit next month.
Meanwhile, Seoul's defense minister Song Young-moo held an emergency meeting Wednesday morning with the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, General Vincent Brooks.
South Korea's defense ministry said that the two met for about half an hour starting at 8 a.m., and decided that the Max Thunder exercise will continue as planned.

The ministry added that the joint exercises, the largest military flying exercise held on the Korean Peninsula, are part of its regular training program for pilots.
The joint exercise involves some 100 warplanes, including eight F-22 stealth fighters, as well as F-15K and F-16K jets.
However, a military source told Arirang News that U.S. B-52 strategic bombers are unlikely to participate in this year's exercise.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.
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