Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump expects Kim summit early next year despite Pompeo postponement

Trump expects Kim summit early next year despite Pompeo postponement

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has abruptly shelved plans to meet a senior North Korean official in NY without explanation, the latest twist in diplomatic attempts to secure a potentially landmark peace deal. The State Department said the meeting would take place at an unspecified later date, "when our respective schedules permit".

North Korea has long sought USA recognition as a nuclear state and guarantees for the survival of the generational Kim regime, which human rights groups consider one of the most repressive in the world.

Neither side has explained why the planned talks between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, a key aide of the North Korean leader, were postponed.

The State Department had just one day earlier confirmed that Pompeo would meet in NY with Kim Yong Chol - one of the North Korean leader's right-hand men - to discuss progress toward a denuclearisation pact and to work to arrange a second summit following historic talks between Trump and Kim in June.

The latest NY meeting was set to come ahead of a busy season of diplomacy, with Pompeo meeting senior Chinese officials in Washington on Friday.

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State-run media, in a statement last week, warned that North Korea was "seriously" considering a return to a guiding policy of building nuclear weapons and said that sanctions were "incompatible" with improving relations with Washington.

The United States notified the South Korean government of the postponement before the announcement, Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary to the president for public communication, told reporters Wednesday.

"Gen. Dunford was simply highlighting that the Defense Department is in support of the State Department when it comes to the ongoing diplomatic negotiations with North Korea", JCS spokesperson Col. Patrick S. Ryder told Voice of America.

Pompeo has traveled four times this year to North Korea, for decades a U.S. pariah, in hopes of securing an accord.

South Korea's presidential Blue House said the United States had informed it of the talks' postponement in advance.

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Speaking at a regular press briefing, State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino emphasized that the postponement was "purely a matter of scheduling".

North Korea is getting increasingly angry at the USA, as talks are deadlocked and tensions between the two countries are on the rise, a source familiar with the discussions told CNN. The North stopped short of threatening to abandon nuclear negotiations with Washington.

During a press conference on Wednesday mostly focused on midterm US elections, Trump contended that he had made more progress with North Korea than past administrations, and said that with sanctions still in place, he was not in a hurry to reach a deal with Pyongyang, which has halted nuclear and missile tests for the past year.

Trump's engagement with North Korea in recent months was apparently timed to the midterms, but he will no longer agree to major meetings if there are no realistic expectations of progress in nuclear diplomacy, Koh said.

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