UPDATE : 2018.5.20 SUN 13:34
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U.S. continues to plan N. Korea summit: State Department

The United States said Tuesday it continues to plan for a historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un despite the regime's threat to withdraw.

The State Department's response came shortly after North Korea warned the U.S. to make "careful deliberations about the fate" of the June 12 summit, citing ongoing military exercises between the South and the U.S.

"We will continue to plan the meeting," department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a regular news briefing. "We have not heard anything from that government or the government of South Korea to indicate we would not continue conducting these exercises or would not continue planning for our meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un next month."

Trump has been informed of the North Korean warning, and officials from the White House, the National Security Council and the Pentagon are meeting as a result, CNN reported.

"We are aware of the South Korean media report," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "The United States will look at what North Korea has said independently, and continue to coordinate closely with our allies."

Yonhap broke the news on the warning carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea also canceled high-level talks with South Korea planned for Wednesday, saying the Max Thunder drills between the South Korean and U.S. air forces are a rehearsal for invasion of the North and a provocation amid warming inter-Korean ties.

The two-week exercise kicked off Friday, involving some 100 warplanes, including eight F-22 radar-evading fighters and an unspecified number of B-52 bombers and F-15K jets.

The Pentagon said the exercises are defensive and part of the alliance's routine, annual training program.

"The purpose of the training is to enhance the ROK-U.S. Alliance's ability to defend the ROK and enhance interoperability and readiness," Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said in a statement. The Republic of Korea is South Korea's formal name. "While we will not discuss specifics, the defensive nature of these combined exercises has been clear for many decades and has not changed."

Hwi Won  edt@koreapost.com

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