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Pompey meeting with North Korean counterpart was interrupted at the last minute

Simon Denyer Tokyo Agency Head covers Japan, North Korea and South Korea. November 7 at 19:19 TOKYO – State Planner…

State Planner Mike Pompei’s planned meeting with his North Korean counterpart in New York has been canceled at the last minute, the government department announced Wednesday without giving any explanation or new date.

The meeting was scheduled to take place on Thursday, but the State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said it should take place “at a later time.”

“We will reconstruct when our schedules allow,” she added in a statement. “Ongoing talks continue to take place. The United States is still focused on meeting the commitments agreed by President Trump and President Kim at the Singapore Summit in June.”

South Korea’s national broadcasters KBS reported that the North Korean negotiating group led by Kim Yong Chol would come on a Wednesday flight from Beijing to New York.

But KBS said it was unclear if the team had even arrived in Beijing, and added that Kim had obviously interrupted his New York flight early Tuesday.

Although it was too early to draw any conclusions about the postponement of the meeting, there has been evidence of a growing split between Washington and Pyongyang over the nuclear power process and the right time to lift sanctions.

North Korea wants to see both sides take “simultaneous step-by-step concessions from its side matched by similar steps from Washington, to insure North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he can safely scale back or dismantle his nuclear programs.

The United States takes a fundamentally different approach, which requires North Korea to fully root in the nucleus before sanctions are lifted.

In recent weeks, the two sides appear to have grown further apart. North Korea has fulfilled its demands: it had requested the United States states formally explain the end of the 1950-53 Korean war, but now it is strongly arguing that it must see sanction relief before it takes a few steps.

On Friday, a comment was published by the head of a North Korean Foreign Ministry’s tanker that Pyongyang might even resume its nuclear program if sanctions are not repealed.

At the same time, p gives South Korean government advisers and experts that Pyongyang is prepared to submit a list of its nuclear and missile facilities. To believe that such a document would give the US military a list of future goals.

If these disputes lie behind the challenge of the meeting, it would not be the first time the negotiations have gone into troubled waters.

In May, Trump announced that his planned summit with North Korea’s leader Kim had been interrupted, referring to the lack of progress on denuclearization.

But soon afterwards, thanks to mediation from the South Korean president Moon Jae-in, Kim Yong Chol fled to the United States to meet Pompeo and personally send a letter to Trump paving the way for the June Summit

In August, also interrupted a planned trip from Pompeo to Pyongyang when negotiations struck a deadlock. The state secretary eventually made the trip last month.

South Korean presidential post yoke Yoon Young-chan told reporters that Seoul had previously been notified by Washington about the delay in the meeting. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry is expected to issue its own statement soon.

My Joo Kim in Seoul contributed to this report.

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