August 28, 2018

Trump called off top U.S. diplomat’s Pyongyang visit after belligerent letter from North Korea: report

Featuring Duyeon Kim

Source: The Japan Times

Journalist Jesse Johnson

The White House last week canceled a planned trip to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, just hours before the top U.S. diplomat was due to leave, after receiving a belligerent secret letter from North Korea’s No. 2 that put the possibility of a successful visit in doubt, a report said Monday.

The Washington Post quoted two unnamed senior U.S. officials as saying that the letter sent by Kim Yong Chol to Pompeo was received Friday. Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee, led previous rounds of talks with Pompeo.

The report said that while the exact contents of the message were unclear, it was “sufficiently belligerent” that U.S. President Donald Trump and Pompeo decided to call off what would have been the diplomat’s fourth visit to Pyongyang.

The planned trip — at which Pompeo had intended to introduce a newly named special envoy, Stephen Biegun, to his North Korean counterparts — had been announced the previous day and had been scheduled for sometime this week.

The State Department did not respond to an email requesting comment by press time.

In a tweet Friday, Trump said he was canceling Pompeo’s trip “at this time” because he felt “we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Read the full article and more in The Japan Times.

  • Duyeon Kim

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Asia-Pacific Security Program

    Duyeon Kim is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Her expertise includes the two Koreas, nuclear ...