In setback, Pompeo's North Korea meetings called off without explanation

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington

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

US 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.

The Russian permanent mission to the United Nations has asked for closed consultations on sanctions against North Korea to be held by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday, the mission's spokesman, Fyodor Strzhizhovsky, told Sputnik.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo abruptly shelved plans to travel to NY on Thursday to meet with his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong Chol.

North Korea has demanded that the United States end its tough economic sanctions now that it is negotiating with Trump over its nuclear program. "We are confident going forward", Palladino told reporters during a regular briefing.

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 think it's going fine", Trump said.

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.

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To that end, the USA and South Korea announced last week the creation of a new working group to "strengthen our close coordination", including on "sanctions implementation and inter-Korean cooperation that comply with the United Nations sanctions", according to State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino.

Trump met in June in Singapore with Kim in the first-ever summit between the two countries that never formally ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

The talks in NY were largely seen as paving the way for a second summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un, who met in Singapore in June.

But the growing divide between the US and South Korea also has many concerned, as liberal President Moon Jae-in pushes for closer Korean ties including demilitarizing the border and increasing economic cooperation.

"The fear from America's perspective would be that the South Koreans might go too fast and agree to things that would involve, for example, our troops, our economic postures that we wouldn't be prepared to give [at this stage], without perhaps getting significant concessions on reductions of weapons testing", retired U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney said Wednesday.

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.

"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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