In a statement carried by state news agency KCNA, North Korea's First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan said his country will reconsider the historic June 12 meeting if the U.S. insists on Pyongyang relinquishing its nuclear weapons.
The development is the latest sign of possible backtracking by Kim following the ruler's months-long international charm offensive that was widely hoped to clear tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Earlier, the rogue state canceled talks with South Korea and threatened to ditch the June 12 summit in protest over Washington and Seoul's joint military drills.
Wednesday's news "is classic North Korean playbook," said Sean King, senior vice president at consulting firm Park Strategies.
Ongoing peace efforts, which include Kim's summit with South Korean leader Moon Jae-In last month, may "be moving faster than North Korea ever expected and this is sort of their passive-aggressive excuse to get out of it," he continued.