U.S. Markets open in 8 hrs 4 mins

North Korea threatens to cancel Trump-Kim summit over drills

HYUNG-JIN KIM and FOSTER KLUG

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Wednesday threatened to scrap a historic summit next month between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. President Donald Trump, saying it has no interest in a "one-sided" affair meant to pressure the North to abandon its nuclear weapons.

The warning by North Korea's first vice foreign minister came hours after the country abruptly canceled a high-level meeting with South Korea to protest U.S.-South Korean military exercises that the North has long claimed are an invasion rehearsal.

The surprise moves appear to cool what had been an unusual flurry of outreach from a country that last year conducted a provocative series of weapons tests that had many fearing the region was on the edge of war. Analysts said it's unlikely that North Korea intends to scuttle all diplomacy. More likely, they said, is that it wants to gain leverage ahead of the talks between Kim and Trump, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.

In Washington, Trump said the U.S. hasn't been notified about the North Korean threat.

"We haven't seen anything. We haven't heard anything. We will see what happens," he said as he welcomed the president of Uzbekistan to the White House.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration is "still hopeful" that the summit will take place, and that threats from North Korea to scrap the meeting were "something that we fully expected."

She said Trump is "ready for very tough negotiations," adding that "if they want to meet, we'll be ready and if they don't that's OK." She said if there is no meeting, the U.S. would "continue with the campaign of maximum pressure" against the North.

North Korean first vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement carried by state media that "we are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner and making a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes and this would force us to reconsider whether we would accept the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting."

He criticized recent comments by Trump's top security adviser, John Bolton, and other U.S. officials who have said the North should follow the "Libyan model" of nuclear disarmament and provide a "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement." He also took issue with U.S. views that the North should fully relinquish its biological and chemical weapons.

Some analysts say bringing up Libya, which dismantled its rudimentary nuclear program in the 2000s in exchange for sanctions relief, jeopardizes progress in negotiations with the North. Kim Jong Un took power weeks after former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's gruesome death at the hands of rebel forces amid a popular uprising in October 2011. The North has frequently used Gadhafi's death to justify its own nuclear development in the face of perceived U.S. threats.

The North's warning Wednesday fits a past North Korean pattern of raising tensions to bolster its positions ahead of negotiations with Washington and Seoul. But the country also has a long history of scrapping deals with its rivals at the last minute.

In 2013, North Korea abruptly canceled reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War just days before they were scheduled to begin to protest what it called rising animosities ahead of joint drills between Seoul and Washington. In 2012, the North conducted a prohibited long-range rocket launch weeks after it agreed to suspend weapons tests in return for food assistance.

On Wednesday, senior officials from the two Koreas were to sit down at a border village to discuss how to implement their leaders' recent agreements to reduce military tensions along their heavily fortified border and improve overall ties. But hours before the meeting was to start, the North informed the South that it would "indefinitely suspend" the talks, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry.

In a pre-dawn dispatch, the North's official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, called the two-week Max Thunder drills, which began Monday and reportedly include about 100 aircraft, an "intended military provocation" and an "apparent challenge" to last month's summit between Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, when the leaders met at the border in their countries' third summit talks since their formal division in 1948.

"The United States must carefully contemplate the fate of the planned North Korea-U.S. summit amid the provocative military ruckus that it's causing with South Korean authorities," the North said. "We'll keenly monitor how the United States and South Korean authorities will react."

Kim Dong-yub, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said the North isn't trying to undermine the Trump-Kim talks. The North's reaction is more like a "complaint over Trump's way of playing the good cop and bad cop game with (Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo and Bolton," he said.

Seoul's Unification Ministry, which is responsible for inter-Korean affairs, called North Korea's move "regrettable" and urged a quick return to talks. The Defense Ministry said the drills with the United States would go on as planned.

Annual military drills between Washington and Seoul have long been a major source of contention between the Koreas, and analysts have wondered whether their continuation would hurt the detente that, since an outreach by Kim in January, has replaced the insults and threats of war. Much larger springtime drills took place last month without the North's typically fiery condemnation or accompanying weapons tests, though Washington and Seoul toned down those exercises.

The KCNA dispatch said the U.S. aircraft mobilized for the drills include nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and stealth F-22 fighter jets, two of the U.S. military assets it has previously said are aimed at launching nuclear strikes on the North. Seoul has said F-22s are involved in the drills, but has not confirmed whether B-52s are taking part.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department emphasized that Kim had previously indicated he understood the need and purpose of the U.S. continuing its long-planned exercises with South Korea. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. had not heard anything directly from North or South Korea that would change that.

"We will continue to go ahead and plan the meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un," Nauert said.

U.S. Army Col. Rob Manning said the current exercise is part of the U.S. and South Korea's "routine, annual training program to maintain a foundation of military readiness." Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said the purpose of Max Thunder and exercise Foal Eagle — another training event — is to enhance the two nations' abilities to operate together to defend South Korea.

"The defensive nature of these combined exercises has been clear for many decades and has not changed," Manning said.

Washington and Seoul delayed the earlier round of springtime drills because of the North-South diplomacy surrounding February's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, which saw Kim send his sister to the opening ceremonies.

Kim told visiting South Korean officials in March that he "understands" the drills would take place and expressed hope that they'll be modified once the situation on the peninsula stabilizes, according to the South Korean government.

Despite Kim's outreach, some experts were skeptical about whether he would completely give up a nuclear program that he had pushed so hard to build. The North previously vowed to continue nuclear development unless the United States pulls its 28,500 troops out of South Korea and withdraws its so-called "nuclear umbrella" security guarantee to South Korea and Japan as a condition for its nuclear disarmament.

Wednesday's threat could also be targeted at showing a domestic audience that Kim is willing to stand up to Washington. Kim has repeatedly told his people that his nukes are a "powerful treasured sword" that can smash U.S. hostility.

On Tuesday, South Korea's military said North Korea was moving ahead with plans to close its nuclear test site next week, an assessment backed by U.S. researchers who say satellite images show the North has begun dismantling facilities at the site.

The site's closure was set to come before the Kim-Trump summit, which had been shaping up as a crucial moment in the decades-long push to resolve the nuclear standoff with the North, which is closing in on the ability to viably target the mainland United States with its long-range nuclear-armed missiles.

The U.N. ambassador from the Netherlands, which currently chairs the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee, said he remained hopeful.

"Anyone who has had anything to do with DPRK in the past 20, 30, 40 years has seen that engaging in political contact with DPRK is complex," Ambassador Karel van Oosterom told reporters at the U.N., using the initials of North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "To say it very simply, the road ahead will have bumps, and I think we are hitting one of the bumps at the moment. I think we are hopeful that the road will lead to the solution we all hope for."

___

Associated Press writers Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, Lolita Baldor, Josh Lederman and Catherine Lucey in Washington, and Jennifer Peltz at the United Nations contributed to this report.

  • Vladimir Putin Set a Trap for Robert Mueller in His Press Conference with Donald Trump
    Politics
    Time

    Vladimir Putin Set a Trap for Robert Mueller in His Press Conference with Donald Trump

    It was a calculated attempt to pull the Mueller investigation onto a playing field that Putin can control. Here’s roughly how the Russian leader would like things to unfold: Now that the Special Counsel has indicted a group of 12 Russian intelligence officers for interfering in the U.S. elections, Putin wants to see the evidence, ideally translated into Russian and sent to the authorities in Moscow, all in accordance with an obscure law-enforcement treaty that the U.S. and Russia signed nearly two decades ago.

  • Texas Instruments' new CEO loses job for personal misconduct
    Finance
    Associated Press

    Texas Instruments' new CEO loses job for personal misconduct

    Texas Instruments has dumped CEO Brian Crutcher for personal misconduct less than two months after he took over the job, ruining the chip maker's hopes for a smooth transition to new leadership. Crutcher resigned Tuesday after TI's board determined he violated the company's code of conduct with behavior the company said was not consistent with its ethics and core values. TI emphasized Crutcher's transgression wasn't related to its operations or finances.

  • Blood Pressure Medication That May Contain Cancer-Causing Impurity Is Recalled
    Finance
    Fortune

    Blood Pressure Medication That May Contain Cancer-Causing Impurity Is Recalled

    Several drug companies have recalled medications containing valsartan, an off-patent ingredient used in generic medications to treat heart failure and high blood pressure. The companies blamed the recall on the presence of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), an impurity thought to be produced because of changes in manufacturing that is classified as a probable cancer-causing agent. The Food and Drug Administration issued an announcement about the voluntary recalls on July 13.

  • Microsoft Just Scored a Huge Cloud Win Against Amazon
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Microsoft Just Scored a Huge Cloud Win Against Amazon

    Retail giant Walmart (NYSE: WMT) announced a major partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) today, one that aims to expand Walmart's position in e-commerce in its efforts to challenge Amazon.com's (NASDAQ: AMZN) utter dominance. Walmart says it is looking to "further accelerate Walmart's digital transformation in retail," and plans to leverage Microsoft Azure as a critical part of that strategy.

  • Liver Cancer Deaths Are Skyrocketing While Overall Cancer Deaths Are Falling. Here's One Possible Reason Why
    News
    Fortune

    Liver Cancer Deaths Are Skyrocketing While Overall Cancer Deaths Are Falling. Here's One Possible Reason Why

    Mortality rates for liver cancer patients are growing. According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, death rates from this cancer increased 43% from 2000 to 2016. This increase in liver cancer deaths is particularly noteworthy, as overall mortality rates for all types of cancer have declined.

  • Demi Moore Arrived at Bruce Willis's Roast With All the Burns
    News
    Time

    Demi Moore Arrived at Bruce Willis's Roast With All the Burns

    Warning: don’t offer yourself up to be the subject of a Comedy Central roast unless you’re really ready to feel the burns. Bruce Willis experienced the full fire of the comedy roast when his special aired, featuring appearances from friends like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Edward Norton and Martha Stewart to, yes, his ex-wife Demi Moore. Moore pulled no punches, lambasting the popular action star on both personal and professional terms.

  • Business
    CNBC

    Here's how many credit cards people with excellent credit scores have

    How many credit cards should you have if you want an excellent credit score? A credit score is a personal rating that determines the interest you pay for a loan, or whether you qualify for a loan at all. It's calculated based on payment history, how much you owe, your length of credit history, the types of credit you have and how often you apply for new credit.

  • Business
    MarketWatch

    Caterpillar's stock chart to produce bearish 'death cross,' snapping longest bullish streak in decades

    MARKET PULSE Caterpillar Inc.'s stock (cat) fell 0.7% in premarket trade Tuesday, as a bearish "death cross" chart pattern is set to appear. That would snap a streak of 566 sessions, going back to April 18, 2016, in which the 50-day

  • The White House’s terrible photo is the perfect image of the Trump-Putin summit
    Politics
    Quartz

    The White House’s terrible photo is the perfect image of the Trump-Putin summit

    The weirdest, least flattering image of Donald Trump with Vladimir Putin didn’t come from a rogue member of the media. Just before the US and Russian presidents’ closed-door meeting today (July 16), Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted a black-and-white photo that shows Trump, sitting upright and wide eyed, looking away from Putin, whose eyes are closed. .@POTUS @realDonaldTrump and President Putin sit down for one on one meeting in Helsinki, Finland.

  • Walmart and Microsoft are teaming up to take down Amazon
    Business
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Walmart and Microsoft are teaming up to take down Amazon

    One of the biggest retailers, Walmart, is teaming up with Microsoft to take down the online giant, Amazon. Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous, Julia LaRoche, and Melody Hahm break down the details.

  • Why Bank of America Will Break Out
    Finance
    InvestorPlace

    Why Bank of America Will Break Out

    If you were a bit concerned about Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) before earnings, you weren’t alone. Off the price chart, back-winds of corporate tax cuts, conducive interest rates and favorable regulatory environment coupled with internal cost-cutting measures manifested themselves into a better-than-expected profit report for Bank of America. On the price chart, the situation looks equally supportive for shareholders to line their own coffers following an important and lengthy technical incarceration from which BAC bulls can break out of.

  • Finance
    Barrons.com

    Mastercard & Visa: If I Had to Choose Just One…

    Now that second-quarter earnings season is in swing, we've already heard from a number of big banks, although with mixed reactions. On the payments side of financials, Oppenheimer's Glenn Greene takes a look at Mastercard (MA) and Visa (V) ahead of their reports, writing that he expects their robust run to continue. Greene reiterated an Outperform rating on both stocks Tuesday, and raised his price target on Mastercard to $215 from $197, and for Visa to $154 from $143.

  • Amazon Prime Day U.S. sales bigger than last year, despite site issues
    Finance
    TechCrunch

    Amazon Prime Day U.S. sales bigger than last year, despite site issues

    Despite the massive glitches that prevented online shoppers from being able to browse and buy from Amazon's Prime Day sale yesterday, the retailer is this morning claiming its Prime Day sales in the U.S. are "bigger than ever," and grew faster than last year's Prime Day within the first ten hours of the annual sales event. In addition, customers bought "millions" of Amazon devices, including top sellers Fire TV Stick, Echo Dot, Fire 7 tablet, the Instant Pot 6 Qt, and the Lifestraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Amazon said. While Amazon doesn't tend to reveal hard numbers, a third-party report from Feedvisor backs up Amazon's statement to some extent, saying that online shoppers spent 54 percent more in the first three hours of Prime Day this year, than the first three hours last year, according to a report from Bloomberg.

  • Bear of the Day: Alibaba (BABA)
    Finance
    Zacks

    Bear of the Day: Alibaba (BABA)

    Alibaba Group (BABA), perceived as the "Amazon of China," is a must-own franchise for some investors -- myself included. From the different analyst reports I've read, there are multiple headwinds causing them to lower EPS projections, including growing competition in e-commerce and cloud services, economic slowing in China and RMB currency depreciation, a one-time step-up in stock compensation related to Ant Financial’s recent financing, and overall increasing investments by Alibaba that will hurt profitability. China's e-Commerce market is expected to pass $1.1 trillion in 2018.

  • EARNINGS: Johnson & Johnson stock jumps after beating on profits, trimming guidance
    Business
    Yahoo Finance Video

    EARNINGS: Johnson & Johnson stock jumps after beating on profits, trimming guidance

    Yahoo Finance's Alexis Christoforous and Jared Blikre break down the latest market action after Johnson & Johnson reports second quarter adjusted earnings per share that beat Wall Street expectations.

  • How much a typical worker makes at Intel, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Twitter and other big tech employers
    Business
    American City Business Journals

    How much a typical worker makes at Intel, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Twitter and other big tech employers

    A few more surprises are coming to light as more of the biggest tech employers reveal how much they pay a typical worker in Silicon Valley. Take for example chipmaker Intel Corp. With revenue last year of almost $63 billion, the Santa Clara-based chipmaker is neck-and-neck with Samsung for the title of the world's biggest semiconductor maker. It's worth noting that while Nvidia is a fabless chipmaker, Intel's global manufacturing workforce is factored into its median employee pay figure.

  • These 3 Value Stocks Are Absurdly Cheap Right Now
    Business
    Motley Fool

    These 3 Value Stocks Are Absurdly Cheap Right Now

    When stocks get so out of sync with what their actual valuation ought to be, investors should move quickly because it's likely they won't stay that way for long. See why Ford (NYSE: F), Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B), and Party City (NYSE: PRTY) made the cut.

  • EU signs biggest ever trade deal and attacks Donald Trump
    World
    The Telegraph

    EU signs biggest ever trade deal and attacks Donald Trump

    The European Union on Tuesday signed an agreement with Japan that will create the world’s largest free trade zone before attacking Donald Trump for triggering possible trade wars with his protectionist “America First” policy. The Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement will eliminate nearly all tariffs between the bloc and the world’s third biggest economy. The EU will abolish tariffs on Japanese cars in return for Tokyo eliminating tariffs on European cheese and wine.

  • Netflix is falling off a cliff
    Finance
    TechCrunch

    Netflix is falling off a cliff

    Netflix didn't add as many subscribers as expected by a bunch of people on Wall Street who on a quarterly basis govern whether or not it'll be more valuable than Comcast -- and that is probably a bad thing, as it's one of the primary indicators of its future potential for said finance folk. While it's still adding subscribers (a lot of them), it fell below the forecasts it set for itself during the second quarter. This comes amid a spending spree by the company, which is looking to create a ton of original content in order to attract a wider audience and lock them into that Netflix ecosystem.

  • See How Newspaper Front Pages Around the World Reacted to Trump's Embrace of Putin in Helsinki
    Politics
    Fortune

    See How Newspaper Front Pages Around the World Reacted to Trump's Embrace of Putin in Helsinki

    The world was in shock on Monday after President Donald Trump showed reverence to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki over Russia’s involvement in U.S. elections. At a press conference following a one-on-one meeting, Trump appeared to trust Putin

  • China heart drug sold globally may have had impurity since 2012
    Business
    Reuters

    China heart drug sold globally may have had impurity since 2012

    A common blood pressure and heart drug manufactured in bulk by a Chinese company and sold worldwide may have contained an impurity linked to cancer since 2012, European regulators said on Tuesday. The revelation that the problem likely dates back to changes in manufacturing processes at Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical six years ago suggests many patients could potentially have been exposed to cancer risk. The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which first raised the alarm over the Chinese supplied valsartan on July 5, said it was now working to establish how long and at what levels patients might have been exposed to the impurity known as NDMA.

  • I'm Bill Browder. Here's the Biggest Mistake Putin Made When Trying to Get Access to Me Through Trump
    Politics
    Time

    I'm Bill Browder. Here's the Biggest Mistake Putin Made When Trying to Get Access to Me Through Trump

    Putin offered to allow American investigators to interview the 12 Russian intelligence agents just indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in exchange for allowing Russians to have access to me and those close to me. Amazingly, Trump stood next to him, appearing to nod approvingly. Some of these human-rights violators had killed Sergei Magnitsky, my Russian lawyer who was murdered in a Moscow jail for uncovering a massive $230 million government-corruption scheme that we’ve since traced to known Putin cronies.

  • Texas Instruments CEO resigns on code of conduct violation
    Finance
    Reuters

    Texas Instruments CEO resigns on code of conduct violation

    The company's shares fell as much as 2.5 percent in after-market trading even as Texas Instruments reported second-quarter earnings and sales figures that beat estimates. Chairman Rich Templeton will reassume the roles of chief executive officer and president and the chipmaker is not searching for a replacement, Texas Instruments said. "The violations are related to personal behavior not consistent with the company's ethics and core values, but not related to company strategy, operations or financial reporting," Texas Instruments said in a statement.

  • Why the Worst May Not Be Over for Snap
    Business
    Market Realist

    Why the Worst May Not Be Over for Snap

    Snap (SNAP) stock has rallied 27.0% since the sharp decline it saw after it announced disappointing first-quarter 2018 results in May. Snap stock has had a tendency to move sharply either way after major news. The fact of the matter is that Snapchat faces immense competition from Facebook’s (FB) Instagram, which now has one billion monthly active users. Also, Snap has remained expensive considering its decelerating growth rate.

  • Texas Instruments Ex-CEO May Forfeit $43.3 Million on Misconduct
    Finance
    Bloomberg

    Texas Instruments Ex-CEO May Forfeit $43.3 Million on Misconduct

    Texas Instruments Inc.’s Brian Crutcher, who resigned as chief executive officer after just six weeks on the job, could be forced to surrender as much as $43.3 million of stock awards. Crutcher, who resigned after the semiconductor maker said he violated its code of conduct, held stock options and restricted shares valued at about $20.6 million and $22.7 million as of Tuesday’s market close, data compiled by Bloomberg show. An executive who’s fired for cause -- which usually includes policy breaches -- can lose both restricted shares and stock options, Texas Instruments said in its most recent proxy statement.