"It's nothing new ...[In 2003] the North Koreans objected to my characterization of Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un's father, as a dictator and other things. He is going to run this the way he sees fit and we are 100 percent confident, as I have said many times before as we all know that you are aware, that he is the best negotiator and we are very confident in that front".
Ms Sanders said the comments from North Korea were "not something that is out of the ordinary in these types of operations". "But like I said if they want to meet, the president will certainly be ready and we'll be prepared".
Citing first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Kye Gwan, KCNA later said the fate of the unprecedented US-North Korea summit, as well as bilateral relations, "would be clear" if the United States spoke of a "Libya-style" denuclearisation for the North.
North Korean leader Kim canceled a planned meeting with South Korean president Moon Jae-In at short notice on Monday amid fears his country would be invaded.
KCNA called the Maximum Thunder exercises "the largest-ever and a reflection of the invariable stand of the US and South Korea to persist in the "maximum pressure and sanctions" against the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]".
China, North Korea's sole major ally, called for the summit to go ahead.
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The statement that comes after a brief hiatus in the war of words between Trump and Kim is likely to mar efforts towards building a denuclearised Korean Peninsula.
"It's what the North Koreans do and the question is whether this really is a sign that they're not taking our objective of denuclearization seriously".
"This exercise targeting us, which is being carried out across South Korea, is a flagrant challenge to the Panmunjom Declaration and an intentional military provocation running counter to the positive development on the Korean Peninsula", the KCNA article stated.
In recent weeks Kim has twice met Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pyongyang has announced it will destroy its nuclear testing site next week. In South Korea, the bolt from the blue did not seem to dent popular optimism. On one board will be the future of North Korea's nuclear weapons programs, what Trump came to negotiate.
The North has said it won't return to talks with Seoul due to the exercises.
In a statement Tuesday, Sanders said that "the United States will look at what North Korea has said independently, and continue to coordinate closely with our allies".
The exercises were "not provocative" and would continue, she added.