US abruptly postpones talks with top North Korean official

US abruptly postpones talks with top North Korean official

US abruptly postpones talks with top North Korean official

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.

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

Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol, a close aide to the North Korean leader, were expected to continue talks on dismantling the regime's nuclear weapons program and arranging a second summit between the leader and Trump.

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

Trump told a White House news conference the change was "because of trips that are being made", but did not elaborate on these."We are going to make it ... another day", he said.

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Democrats have said they are determined to obtain more information about meetings between Trump and Pompeo and Kim, anxious that Trump is so eager to make a "great deal" that he will give Kim too much with little in return.

"Dunford is not talking about things that are going to happen immediately, but brought up issues that will be discussed inevitably", said Shin Beom-chul, a senior researcher at the Asan Institute, a Seoul-based security think tank.

"We're in no rush whatsoever" to conclude a denuclearization pact with Pyongyang, Trump said Wednesday, adding he would "love to take the sanctions off", but North Korea has to be responsive.

During a press conference on Wednesday mostly focused on midterm USA 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.

"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 U.S. leaders.

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But the growing divide between the USA and South Korea also has many concerned, as liberal President Moon Jae-in pushes for closer Korean ties including demilitarizing the border and increasing economic cooperation.

Russian Federation said in October it was time to consider the possibility of relaxing the worldwide restrictions against Pyongyang amid commitment expressed by North Korea's leadership to denuclearize of the Korean Peninsula.

The State Department provided no explanation for the meeting's postponement.

FILE - Journalists look around the third tunnel of Punggye-ri nuclear test ground before it is blown up during the dismantlement process in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, May 24, 2018.

"The fear from America's perspective would be that the South Koreans might go too fast and agree to things that would involve, for example, our troops, our economic postures that we wouldn't be prepared to give [at this stage], without perhaps getting significant concessions on reductions of weapons testing", retired U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney said Wednesday.

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"Keeping these things in sync is always a challenge", said former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel.

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