Published: Thu, November 08, 2018

USA top diplomat Pompeo's meeting with North Koreans postponed

USA top diplomat Pompeo's meeting with North Koreans postponed

News of the postponement came after North Korea's Foreign Ministry criticized the US on Friday for its continued support of sanctions and hinted it may resume nuclear development.

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.

"It is rather the two sides will hold the meeting when their respective schedules permit", a senior official from the ministry said on condition of anonymity, when asked whether the North Korean side was not ready for the meeting. But the Blue House would not reveal the reason for the postponement and referred questions to the State Department.

The top USA diplomat's meeting with Kim "will now take place at a later date" and they will reconvene when their "respective schedules permit", according to a statement by State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is reported to have pledged during his summit with President Moon Jae-in in September that he would not demand the withdrawal of USFK troops or the US-led United Nations Command.

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

The cancellation comes amid North Korean threats to restart its nuclear development unless the USA begins to remove sanctions - a step the administration says it will not take until North Korea meaningfully moves to denuclearize, which it so far has not done.

"Before trust is built up between the USA and North Korea, demanding that we give the USA a list of our fissile materials, nuclear weapons and delivery systems is the same as telling us to submit a list of targets for attacks", he quoted Kim as saying. But we're not in any rush at all. -North Korea dialogue, sought to play down the talks delay.

"Until now, the sequence progressed backwards from the end of the list, but I believe the first two issues will also be discussed in earnest during the high-level talks", Kim said.

Remarks about the Korean Peninsula by a top United States military officer have sparked debate over the future of the 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea.

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.

On Sunday, Pompeo said he was "not worried" about the North Korean demands and insisted there would be "no economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective".

North Korea has for years pursued nuclear and missile programs in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions but the bellicose rhetoric from both Pyongyang and Trump that raised fears of war has eased this year.

"We made more progress in that four or five months (since the summit) than they have made in 70 years", he said, referring to previous USA leaders.

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