Trump hopes to meet N.Korea leader next year but counsels patience

08 November, 2018, 18:46 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Kim Yong Chol of North Korea meets with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month in New York City

In August, Trump canceled Pompeo's planned trip to Pyongyang, citing a lack of progress in North Korea's denuclearization.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walks with President Donald Trump, left, during a break in talks at their historic US-North Korea summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018.

"We're very happy with how it's going with North Korea".

The U.S. State Department says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol, the head of Pyeongyang's intelligence agency, will meet in NY on Thursday to discuss denuclearization and the implementation of the June 12th summit declaration.

Instead of following through on that, in recent days North Korea has been criticizing the US over its sanctions, threatening last Friday to bring back its "byongjin" policy - advancing its nuclear arsenal and economic development at the same time.

"There have been cases in the past when US-North Korea talks were delayed, so there is no need to shift between hope and fear", a senior ministry official told reporters.

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

"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.

The statement did not threaten to end nuclear negotiations, however, and the North Koreans are said to still be pursuing a second summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.


United States critics say that North Korea has yet to make any concrete concessions and it has rejected demands for what it described as its "unilateral disarmament".

But the growing divide between the US 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.

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.

State Department officials gave no further reasons for the delay to the meeting, although North Korea has stepped up its demands that the United States lift sanctions.

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".

Trump has cast North Korea as a crowning diplomatic achievement and is eager for a fresh summit with Kim at which the two may formally declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

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

"The immediate priorities of reconciliation, family visit, and potential for infrastructure and trade between North and South [Korea] look a lot different from Seoul and from Washington as does the global non-proliferation agenda", he added.

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