Published: Tue, August 28, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

North Korea visit: Trump calls off Pompeo's trip

North Korea visit: Trump calls off Pompeo's trip

The Post quoted two unnamed senior US administration officials as saying the letter came on Friday from Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, who led previous rounds of talks with Pompeo.

The summitry has led to a variety of conciliatory steps between the Koreas, which have held military talks to reduce tensions across the border, agreed to open a South Korean liaison office in the North, and are now holding highly emotional reunions between elderly war-separated relatives in North Korea's Diamond Mountain resort.

Cheong Seong-chang, a North Korea analyst at the Sejong Institute, a government-affiliated think tank in Seoul, said Trump has the will to resolve the North Korea situation but lacks a coherent strategy.

Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center, said that "Trump's canceling Secretary Pompeo's trip to Pyongyang. reflects poor coordination on the administration's North Korea policy".

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN that Pompeo was in the room Friday afternoon when Trump tweeted he was cancelling Pompeo's trip because Trump felt "we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

The U.S. military spokesman in South Korea was not immediately available to comment.

Trump's surprise announcement appeared to mark a concession by the president to widespread concerns that his prior claims of world-altering progress on the Korean Peninsula had been strikingly premature.

The setting up of the inter-Korean liaison office was agreed between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North's Kim at their summit in April.

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While describing the delayed trip as a setback, the ministry said it would be most important for the allies to pursue "substantial progress" on denuclearization. Trump is now said to be genuinely peeved that the rogue state has been messing with one of his best would-be storylines, that of him as worldwide negotiating super-genius. As CCN reported then, these efforts were aimed at evading sanctions as well as obtaining funds meant to sponsor the regime.

Trump hailed the summit in Singapore as a success and even went as far as to declare the nuclear threat from North Korea over, but Pyongyang has given no indication it is willing abandon its arsenal unilaterally.

His letter exchanges began in the early 1990s when he found the address of his sister, who years earlier sent him a photo of his parents and the news of their deaths via a former neighbor who had acquired US citizenship and visited the North.

Trump and Kim made history by holding the first-ever summit between their two countries, which have been locked in conflict since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

Trump's trade war with China has caused considerable anger in Beijing and makes it unlikely that the government there could be persuaded to cooperate if the United States wants to return to exerting "maximum pressure" on North Korea economically.

Simon Denyer, The Washington Post •.

There's no single USA government assessment, so different US agencies have different takes on how aggressively North Korea is backsliding, and even over what metrics should be used to evaluate the lack of progress.

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