Despite the recent postponement of talks between U.S. and North Korean officials, President Trump expects his second summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to take place as planned early next year.
A meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean official Kim Yong Chol was supposed to take place this week, but the State Department announced Wednesday that the meeting was postponed without citing a reason, Reuters reported.
Despite the postponement, Trump said he still plans to hold another summit with Kim “sometime early next year,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
Trump: Second Kim Jong Un summit “early next year” https://t.co/oYvEUEkJMw
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) November 8, 2018
“We’re very happy with how it’s going with North Korea. We think it’s going fine. We’re in no rush,” he added.
The State Department said only that the Pompeo meeting would be rescheduled for another time “when our respective schedules permit.”
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Thursday that North Korea decided to delay the meeting over scheduling conflicts.
“The North side said ‘both of our schedules are busy, so let’s postpone,’” she said.
Another South Korean foreign ministry official advised against “overthink[ing] the postponement.”
Trump said the meeting was postponed “because of trips that are being made,” but reiterated that they would be rescheduled.
“We are going to make it … another day,” he said.
On Again, Off Again
•5/24: Trump cancels summit over NK rhetoric
•6/1: Trump says summit back on
•8/23: Pompeo NK trip
•8/24: Trump cancels trip over lack of progress
•11/5: State Dept says Pompeo to meet Kim aide in NY
— Fox News Research (@FoxNewsResearch) November 8, 2018
Some expected that the meeting’s postponement — and future meetings between Trump and Kim — was influenced by recent complaints made by North Korea about sanctions imposed by the U.S
Last week, North Korea threatened to resume its nuclear efforts if the U.S. did not ease their sanctions, saying the U.S. has failed to make any concessions over North Korea’s denuclearization steps.
Trump and his administration have maintained that the sanctions will remain in place until fully verifiable denuclearization is achieved.
“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.
North Korea threatens to restart nuclear program unless U.S. lifts sanctions https://t.co/ra3QdtYUqo
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 3, 2018
The State Department insisted that “conversations continue to take place” and added that “the United States remains focused on fulfilling the commitments agreed to by President Trump and Chairman Kim at the Singapore summit in June.”
Pompeo is still scheduled to meet with his Chinese counterpart in Washington on Friday to discuss critical issues amid tensions with China. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will also meet with his counterpart on the same day.
The U.S. considers China an asset in denuclearization talks with North Korea, since the two nations are allies.
At the end of November, Trump is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and other foreign leaders at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.