Trump says summit with N. Korea to happen early next year

Top US general's remarks spark debate over fate of USFK

In August, Trump canceled Pompeo's planned trip to Pyongyang, citing a lack of progress in North Korea's denuclearization.

Presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom also said that the delay doesn't mean cancellation and would not affect the drive for talks between the United States and North Korea.

"We're very happy with how it's going with North Korea".

On Monday, the U.S. State Department said in a statement that Pompeo and Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun would meet with North Korea's vice chairman for the central committee Kim Yong-chol, a key aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, on Thursday.

"If denuclearization talks reach a final phase and North Korea begins to give up its nuclear weapons, they (North Korea) would want to bring up the issue of USFK and change its characteristics in accordance with a new security environment".

"There have been cases in the past when US-North Korea talks were delayed, so there is no need to shift between hope and fear", a senior ministry official told reporters.

While both the US and South Korea all want peace and stability in the Korea peninsula, there is a "fear" that fast-developing inter-Korean relations may get out of step with Washington, according to former USA officials and experts.

The cancellation comes amid North Korean threats to restart its nuclear development unless the US begins to remove sanctions - a step the administration says it will not take until North Korea meaningfully moves to denuclearize, which it so far has not done.

"Gen. Dunford was simply highlighting that the Defense Department is in support of the State Department when it comes to the ongoing diplomatic negotiations with North Korea", JCS spokesperson Col. Patrick S. Ryder told Voice of America.

Russian Federation said in October it was time to consider the possibility of relaxing the global restrictions against Pyongyang amid commitment expressed by North Korea's leadership to denuclearize of the Korean Peninsula.

Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said a high-level meeting between the US and North Korea immediately after the USA midterm elections was never realistic, especially when the North was in no mood to make any concrete concessions. That effort has stalled, with North Korea refusing to declare the details of its nuclear capabilities or, so far, allow global inspectors into the country to verify claims that is has dismantled certain sites.

On Sunday, Pompeo said he was "not worried" about the North Korean demands and insisted there would be "no economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective". -North Korean meetings in Pyongyang in early October.

Democrats have said they are determined to obtain more information about meetings between Trump and Pompeo and Kim, anxious that Trump is so eager to make a "great deal" that he will give Kim too much with little in return.

"The immediate priorities of reconciliation, family visit, and potential for infrastructure and trade between North and South [Korea] look a lot different from Seoul and from Washington as does the global non-proliferation agenda", he added.

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