AFP-Jiji WASHINGTON (AFP-Jiji) — U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he hoped to meet again early next year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but insisted he was in “no rush” after top-level preparatory talks were abruptly postponed.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been set to meet a top North Korean official on Thursday in New York to prepare a second summit and work on a potentially landmark deal on ending the totalitarian state’s nuclear program.
But North Korea has stepped up its demands for an easing of U.S. sanctions and the State Department, without offering a reason, said late Tuesday that Pompeo’s meeting was off.
Trump, in a free-wheeling news conference after the midterm elections, said he was willing eventually to ease the pressure on North Korea.
“I would love to take the sanctions off, but they have to be responsive, too,” Trump said.
Trump played down the delay in Pompeo’s meeting with Kim Yong Chol, a right-hand man of North Korea’s leader, and said it was a scheduling issue.
“We will make it another day. But we are very happy how it is going with North Korea,” Trump said. “But I will say this, I will say this very simply — We are in no rush, the sanctions are on.”
North Korea has demanded that the United States end its tough economic sanctions now that it is negotiating with Trump over its nuclear program.
State-run media, in a statement last week, warned that North Korea was “seriously” considering a return to a guiding policy of building nuclear weapons and said that sanctions were “incompatible” with improving relations with Washington.