In this July 7, 2018 photo, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hands with Kim Yong-chol, second right, a senior official of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, for a second day of talks at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang. A meeting between the two officials, scheduled for Nov 8, 2018 in New York, has been delayed, said the US State Department. (ANDREW HARNIK / POOL / AFP)
SEOUL/WASHINGTON – A meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and officials of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) set for Thursday has been postponed, the US State Department said, but the Republic of Korea (ROK) said the delay won’t derail a second DPRK-US summit.
Pompeo had been due to hold talks with senior DPRK official Kim Yong-chol in New York, hoping to pave the way for a second summit between US President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un and make progress on denuclearization.
Ongoing conversations continue to take place…The United States remains focused on fulfilling the commitments agreed to by President Trump and Chairman Kim at the Singapore summit in June.
US State Department
The meeting would be rescheduled "when our respective schedules permit", the US State Department said on Wednesday.
"Ongoing conversations continue to take place," it said in a statement without elaborating. "The United States remains focused on fulfilling the commitments agreed to by President Trump and Chairman Kim at the Singapore summit in June."
Kim and Trump pledged to work towards denuclearization at the June meeting, but the agreement was short on specifics. Negotiations have made little headway since.
"We don't believe that the delay means the North Korea-US summit won't happen or momentum for the summit has been lost," said ROK presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.
The DPRK is also referred to as North Korea.
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A senior ROK foreign ministry official said that although the rescheduling was regrettable, there was no need to "overthink the postponement".
"I think we have to look at it as a part of the process of reaching complete denuclearization and setting up a peace regime," the unnamed official told reporters.
Trump's Republican party lost control of the US House of Representatives on Tuesday after the Democrats rode a wave of dissatisfaction with his presidency at US midterm elections. While Republicans maintained control of the Senate, the Democrats now have the opportunity to block Trump's agenda and open his administration to intense scrutiny.
Some analysts suggest a domestically weakened Trump may impact his foreign policy and test his DPRK diplomatic gambit.
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