South Korea says North Korea has asked for a delay of high-level talks with the United States that were scheduled to take place Thursday in New York.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyuang-wha told lawmakers in Seoul Thursday that the United States informed them of Pyongyang’s wish to postpone the meeting, citing scheduling issues.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was due to meet Thursday with Kim Yong Chol, a senior advisor to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, to discuss moving forward on a vague agreement signed back in June by Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump during their historic summit, which calls for Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
During a news conference at the White House Wednesday, Trump said he is in “no rush” to finalize a deal.
“I would love to take the sanctions off, but they have to be responsive, too. It’s a two-way street,” Trump said, just hours after the meeting was called off.
(( REST OPT ))
In announcing the now postponed meeting, the State Department said the two men would discuss “making progress on all four pillars of the Singapore Summit joint statement, including achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization” of North Korea.
Despite the agreement, the two sides have been at odds over the pace of Pyongyang’s efforts to end its nuclear weapons program.
North Korea warned last week it will consider reviving its nuclear weapons program if the United States fails to lift its crippling economic sanctions against the regime. North Korea is also seeking a peace treaty with the United States and South Korea that will formally end the 1950-53 Korean War that split the communist North from the democratic South.
The fighting ended with an armistice, leaving North and South Korea in a technical state of war.
Meanwhile, Russia has asked the U.N. Security Council to meet Thursday to discuss U.N. sanctions against the North.
Both Russia and China have said they believe the North should be rewarded for stopping missile tests and opening a dialogue with the United States.