North Korea

Trump nixes Pompeo’s visit ‘after North Korea sends letter warning talks may fall apart’

Pyongyang reportedly sent a letter warning Washington that denuclearisation talks are ‘at stake and may fall apart’

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2018, 3:51am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 August, 2018, 6:33am

US President Donald Trump nixed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned visit to North Korea after Pyongyang sent a letter warning Washington that denuclearisation talks are “at stake and may fall apart”, CNN reported on Tuesday.

Pompeo reportedly received the letter from Kim Yong-chol, vice-chairman of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee, on Friday morning, and showed it to Trump, who has since called off the top US diplomat’s trip to the North.

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Quoting three sources, CNN said the letter stated that the Kim Jong-un regime felt the process could not move forward because “the US is still not ready to meet (North Korean) expectations in terms of taking a step forward to sign a peace treaty”. The letter’s existence was first reported by The Washington Post.

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CNN reported that the letter also mentioned that if a compromise could not be reached and the nascent talks crumble, North Korea could resume “nuclear and missile activities”.

North Korea has insisted that the United States replace the armistice agreement that ended the 1950-1953 Korean war. Washington, for its part, has countered that Pyongyang must first abandon its nuclear arsenal.

Despite its leader’s commitment to “complete” denuclearisation in a historic summit with Trump in Singapore in June, North Korea has yet to take credible measures toward giving up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

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Pompeo’s spokeswoman Heather Nauert declined to comment on the tough-worded letter that had derailed what would have been Pompeo’s fourth visit to North Korea this year.

Nauert says, “America stands ready to engage when it is clear that Chairman Kim stands ready to deliver on the commitments that he made at the Singapore summit with President Trump.”

Additional reporting by Reuters.