SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea threatened Thursday to cancel reunions of Korean War-divided families because of coming U.S.-South Korean military drills and accused the United States of raising tensions by flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers near the Korean Peninsula.
The apparent about-face a day after the rival Koreas agreed on dates for the emotional meetings fits a pattern analysts describe of North Korea agreeing to things South Korea covets and then pulling back until it gets what it wants — in this case a ratcheting down of military drills by Seoul and Washington that are seen as a huge drain on the impoverished North’s military.
The rival Koreas decided Wednesday to resume the family reunions, which haven’t been held since 2010, on Feb. 20-25. Before the agreement, many in Seoul were skeptical that North Korea would allow the reunions anytime soon because of its anger over the annual military drills scheduled later this month.
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