Sunday, 18 November, 2018

U.S. abruptly postpones top-level N. Korea talks

Japan's economy expanded at a slightly faster pace than first thought revised figures showed June 8 knocking hopes that the central bank will unleash fresh stimul AFP 2018 Kazuhiro NogiJapan North Korea Held Secret Talks in Mongolia in Early October- Reports
Leonard Rios | 10 November, 2018, 10:06

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2018.

At the State Department on Wednesday, deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said the postponement "is purely a scheduling issue".

The meeting, scheduled for this week in NY, she said, "will reconvene when our respective schedules permit".

In a statement, it added, "Ongoing conversations continue to take place", but did not elaborate.

Pompeo had been due to hold talks with senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, which were hoped to pave the way for a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and make progress on denuclearization.

To that end, the US and South Korea announced last week the creation of a new working group to "strengthen our close coordination", including on "sanctions implementation and inter-Korean cooperation that comply with the United Nations sanctions", according to State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino.

At a White House press conference, the president said Pompeo's meeting with Kim Yong Chol will be rescheduled.

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As CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy has noted from Beijing, the Trump administration thus far has stuck by its stance that sanctions against North Korea will only be dropped once denuclearization is achieved, or at least demonstrably underway.

Kim and Trump signed an agreement at their landmark summit in June to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons, but the two sides have been at odds over the pace of Pyongyang's efforts to end its nuclear weapons program.

Pompeo had said Sunday that he would be meeting Kim Yong Chol in NY, where the two would "make sure that the summit between our two leaders can take place, where we can make substantial steps towards denuclearization".

Pyongyang has complained that Washington has not made concessions in return for the moves it has taken and last Friday warned it could resume development of its nuclear program if the United States did not drop its sanctions campaign. But we're not in any rush at all. "But we're very happy with how it's going with North Korea". A senior official at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul cautioned against reading too much into the decision to postpone the meeting.

Trump also said he'll meet with Kim "sometime early next year".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's spokesman Kim Eui-keum said the delay did not imply a collapse of the US nuclear negotiations with North Korea or a loss of momentum.

South Korea's presidential office said it had received advance notice about the postponement of Thursday's meeting and tried to play down the impact on the overall process.

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