US North Korea Conflict: NoKor Delays Meeting With Pompeo Not Washington
The North Korean side was the one who requested Washington to delay the supposed high-level talks between Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and DPRK Vice Chairman of the Central Committee Kim Yong Chol which was originally set on Nov. 8.
Multiple media reports stated that South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha had been saying during interviews that it was the North Korean side that asked for the meeting to be postponed. The minister was reportedly citing U.S. counterparts as sources.
Kim had purportedly scheduled to fly out from Beijing to New York on Nov. 7 but his departure was repeatedly canceled. He was rebooked on a flight on Tuesday until it was delayed again and eventually was canceled altogether.
On the same day, Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert announced that the high-level talk will take place at a later date. Her announcement aroused media's interest as it was made without any explanation.
Nauert's announcement simply stated that the officials will "reconvene when respective schedules permit." The statement added that Washington remains focused on fulfilling the agreement made between President Donald Trump and Vice Chairman Kim about NoKor's pledge to denuclearize.
The canceled talks were just announced two days ago, on Nov. 5. Pompeo was supposed to travel to New York City with Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Beigun. The officials were supposed to discuss developments on achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK.
Days before the canceled meeting between Pompeo and Kim, North Korea has issued a warning about going back to the full development of nuclear weapons if Washington does not ease up sanctions. This statement seemed to have contradicted an announcement made by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in August, saying that his country's nuclear quest would cease and his regime would instead focus on rebuilding its economy.
At the heart of the issue are concessions asked by the United States from North Korea regarding its full denuclearization. Washington had been asking Pyongyang to agree on inspection of its nuclear program to prove that it upholds what has been agreed upon regarding its nuclear weapons program. Trump and Pompeo had been asking NoKor to allow representatives from the international community to verify that Pyongyang, indeed, gave up its nuclear ambitions.
Anonymous sources told CNN that the United States wanted to conduct such inspection before agreeing to the second summit between Trump and Kim.
North Korea, on the other hand, had been requesting for Washington to ease some economic sanctions before moving forward with its full denuclearization. Pyongyang has been insistent not to engage in any negotiations regarding its nuclear weapons for as long as the United States does not lift up its economic sanctions.