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US top diplomat Pompeo’s meeting with North Koreans postponed

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SEOUL/WASHINGTON A meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials set for today in New York has been postponed, the US State Department said, but South Korea said the delay will not derail a second North Korea-US summit.

Mr Pompeo had been due to hold talks with senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, to pave the way for a second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and make progress on denuclearisation.

The meeting would be rescheduled "when our respective schedules permit", the US State Department said yesterday.

Mr Kim and Mr Trump pledged to work towards denuclearisation at the June meeting, but the agreement was short on specifics.

Negotiations have made little headway since, with the North falling short of US demands for irreversible moves to abandon a weapons programme that potentially threatens the United States.

"We don't believe that the delay means the North Korea-US summit won't happen or momentum for the summit has been lost," said South Korea's presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

A senior South Korean Foreign Ministry official said that although the rescheduling was regrettable, there was no need to"overthink the postponement".

Mr Trump's Republican Party lost control of the US House of Representatives on Tuesday after Democrats rode a wave of dissatisfaction with his presidency at the midterm elections.

While Republicans have kept control of the Senate, the Democrats now have the ability to block Mr Trump's agenda and open his administration to intense scrutiny.

Analysts have suggested a domestically weaken Mr Trump may impact his foreign policy and test his North Korean diplomatic gambit.

Democrats say they are determined to obtain more information about meetings between Mr Trump, Mr Pompeo and Mr Kim, worried that Mr Trump is so eager to make a "great deal" that he will give up too much with little in return.- REUTERS

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