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U.S. requested change in DPRK negotiator before planned talks

Yomiuri reported from Seoul on the disclosure by a source involved in U.S.-Japan-ROK relations that just prior to the high-level talks between the U.S. and North Korea slated for New York on Nov. 8., Secretary of State Pompeo asked for the DPRK representative to be changed from Kim Yong Chol to Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho. The Secretary had reportedly come to doubt whether Kim would be suitable as his counterpart since the U.S. official noticed discrepancies between statements made to him by Chairman Kim and those by Kim Yong Chol. According to the source, the scheduled meeting was called off at the last minute because of North Korea’s strong reaction to the Secretary’s alleged request. While concluding that Kim Yong Chol, a former military general, was standing in the way of bilateral dialogue due to his hard line, the Secretary allegedly called for a switch to the DRPK minister based on the assessment that the professional diplomat would be a reasonable dialogue partner.

 

The daily speculated that high-level talks between the two conflicting parties are unlikely to be convened anytime soon because the Kim regime is displeased that the Trump administration appears to be taking a wait-and-see attitude while continuing to sanction it. As Pyongyang is allegedly conducting a review of its approach toward Washington, the article claimed it will probably be difficult to arrange a second summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un early next year.      

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