Pompeo to meet N. Korea number two on Thursday

10 November, 2018, 06:51 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo right and Kim Yong Chol a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief arrive for a lunch at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang North Korea

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Thursday meeting with a key aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been postponed, the State Department said, a potential setback in the seemingly stalled talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

The State Department is keen to kick off working level talks with the North Korean side, which Pompeo said the North had agreed to during their last meeting.

The State Department said in a short statement Wednesday the officials would meet later "when our respective schedules permit".

While U.S. and South Korean officials had expressed hope the talks could make some progress - including laying the groundwork for a second Trump-Kim meeting - North Korea has in recent weeks stepped up calls for sanctions relief.

The talks in NY were largely seen as paving the way for a second summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un, who met in Singapore in June.

On Friday, an official with North Korea's Foreign Ministry threatened that if U.S. does not ease sanctions, that Pyongyang could restart "building up nuclear forces".

Washington says it takes North Korea's human rights abuses very seriously, but that now is the time to focus its efforts on getting North Korea denuclearized.

"What remains to be done is the USA corresponding reply", it added.

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We start with some news just in within the past hour or so.

But Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said that the postponement was a bad sign.

Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said a high-level meeting between the USA and North Korea immediately after the US midterm elections was never realistic, especially when the North was in no mood to make any concrete concessions.

The diplomacy comes a year after fears mounted of war, with Trump threatening "fire and fury" after Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests. It followed Moscow's move to ban the adoption of a report by UNSC panel on restrictions against North Korea, the so-called 1718 Sanctions Committee, until some changes are introduced to it.

But the deal has resulted in few tangible results, other than the USA suspension of some military exercises with South Korea, and North Korea's stated dismantlement of certain nuclear and missile testing sites, which the US says falls short of its expectations. Moon's office said the US notified the government of the delay before the public announcement.

A senior South Korean foreign ministry official said that although the rescheduling was regrettable, there was no need to " overthink the postponement", according to Yonhap news agency on Wednesday.

Diplomatic sources told CBS News reporter Kylie Atwood as recently as Monday that senior State Department officials were still confident in the plans for Pompeo's now-delayed meeting in NY.

Kim Yong Chol is a general and former top intelligence chief. -North Korean meetings in Pyongyang in early October.

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