S. Korea to continue consultation with DPRK for rapid resumption of inter-Korean talks: Blue House

SEOUL, May 17 (Xinhua) -- South Korea planned to continue consultation with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for a rapid resumption of high-level inter-Korean talks, the Blue House of South Korea said Thursday. 

The standing committee meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) of the Blue House was chaired by Chung Eui-yong, top security advisor for President Moon Jae-in, to discuss countermeasures for the DPRK's suspension of the senior-level inter-Korean dialogue.

Seoul and Pyongyang had agreed to hold high-level talks Wednesday in the border village of Panmunjom, but the DPRK canceled the meeting in a pre-dawn announcement carried by the country's state media, citing the ongoing joint air combat exercises conducted by South Korea and the United States.

The two-week "Max Thunder" air drills, which kicked off last week, reportedly mobilized about 100 aircraft including eight F-22 stealth fighter jets. The F-22 Raptor is a radar-evading combat plane for an attacking purpose.

The DPRK's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that "F-22 Raptor" radar-evading warplanes and "B-52" strategic bombers, mobilized to the South Korea-U.S. joint annual air drills, are aimed at launching pre-emptive strikes against the DPRK as well as taking control of the airspace.

The Korean version of the KCNA report called the drill an act of "playing with fire," saying that it is a "blatant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive political development on the Korean Peninsula."

The NSC members of the Blue House agreed to continue consultations with the DPRK to rapidly resume high-level inter-Korean talks, the Blue House said in a press release.

The Panmunjom Declaration was announced after the April 27 summit between Moon and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, which agreed to complete denuclearization and the alteration of the current armistice agreement into a peace treaty by the end of this year. The NSC members agreed to closely coordinate positions through multiple channels with the DPRK and the United States for a successful DPRK-U.S. summit, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.

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