Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

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

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

North Korea and the United States are finally going to be sitting down for high-level talks - some five months after their summit in Singapore.

It offered no reason and North Korea's propaganda services have not mentioned the meeting.

FILE - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, and Kim Yong Chol, a North Korean senior ruling party official, arrive for a lunch at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 7, 2018.

North Korea said last week that it would "seriously" consider returning to a state policy aimed at building nuclear weapons unless Washington lifts sanctions.

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.

"It is hard for us to comment on Chairman Dunford's remarks, because we don't know exactly what he meant by it", presidential spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said in a regular press briefing on Tuesday. -North Korea negotiations have completely broken down or "lost their momentum" because of the postponement.

"But I will say this, I will say this very simply - We are in no rush, the sanctions are on", he said.

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.

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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.

However, skepticism persists among conservatives in South Korea that Pyongyang could change its position if the two Koreas and the USA were to declare an end to the Korean War and subsequently enter negotiations for a peace treaty to replace the current armistice agreement.

Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said a high-level meeting between the US and North Korea immediately after the USA midterm elections was never realistic, especially when the North was in no mood to make any concrete concessions.

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. -North Korea dialogue, sought to play down the talks delay.

Pompeo, speaking Sunday on Fox News, 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".

Cheong Wa Dae declined to comment on Dunford's remarks, but the presidential office reiterated Kim Jong-un's pledge, made during meetings with Moon and his top aides this year, that the North would not demand the withdrawal of USFK troops.

"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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