DESPITE US State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s abrupt postponement of a top-level meeting with Pyongyang officials this week, President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he expected to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un early next year.
Pompeo and senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol were scheduled to hold talks on Thursday but The State Department early Wednesday said the talks were has been postponed and be rescheduled “when our respective schedules permit” without elaborating.
However, Trump told reporters at the White House the delay was due to “trips that are being made”, without elaborating on the remarks.
“We are going to make it … another day,” he said.
“But we’re very happy with how it’s going with North Korea. We think it’s going fine. We’re in no rush,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.
Trump, who held a historic summit with Kim in Singapore earlier this year, said he expects to meet the leader again soon.
“Sometime next year, I would say. Sometime early next year,” he said.
Observers said the postponement could deal a blow to the negotiations North Korea’s denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
While the unprecedented meeting in Singapore showed promises of North Korea’s abandonment of its nuclear arsenal that threatens the US and its allies South Korea and Japan, the hermit kingdom has shown little progress in its pledge on denuclearisation.
Last Friday, Pyongyang warned that it would revive its stalled nuclear weapons development programme if the US did not drop its sanctions against the country. North Korea has repeatedly complained that Washington was not making concessions for its effort to dispose of its nuclear weapons.
Washington insists the sanctions would not be lifted until North Korea gives up its weapons first.
“The sanctions are on. … I’d love to take the sanctions off, but they (North Korea) have to be responsive, too,” Trump said on Wednesday.
The State Department said “conversations continue to take place,” with North Korea, according to Reuters.
“The United States remains focused on fulfilling the commitments agreed to by President Trump and Chairman Kim at the Singapore summit in June.”