United States abruptly postpones high-level talks with North Korea

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo right and Kim Yong Chol a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief arrive for a lunch at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang North Korea

Tensions between the USA and North Korea that spiked last year when Trump and Kim were trading insults and dire threats have ebbed this year, but the North has not taken irreversible steps to give up the nukes it spent decades making and which it views as key to its security.

There's been little diplomatic progress in the five months since the June summit in Singapore where the USA and North Korean leaders committed to "denuclearization" of the divided Korean Peninsula.

North Korea has long sought USA recognition as a nuclear state and guarantees for the survival of the generational Kim regime, which human rights groups consider one of the most repressive in the world.

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.

Instead of following through on that, in recent days North Korea has been criticizing the USA over its sanctions, threatening last Friday to bring back its "byongjin" policy - advancing its nuclear arsenal and economic development at the same time. "We're in no hurry", Trump told reporters at a White House press conference.

Seoul's Foreign Ministry also expressed hope that the USA and North Korea can quickly reschedule a high-level meeting. Some have questioned whether US Forces Korea would consider withdrawing if North Korea made substantial progress on denuclearization.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday the U.S.is "in no rush" after talks between his top diplomat and a senior North Korean envoy were postponed, throwing stalled diplomacy over the North's nuclear weapons into further uncertainty.

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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. North Korea is also seeking a peace treaty with the United States and South Korea that will formally end the 1950-53 Korean War that split the communist North from the democratic South.

Russian Federation said in October it was time to consider the possibility of relaxing the worldwide restrictions against Pyongyang amid commitment expressed by North Korea's leadership to denuclearize of the Korean Peninsula.

FILE - Journalists look around the third tunnel of Punggye-ri nuclear test ground before it is blown up during the dismantlement process in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, May 24, 2018.

"Russia has indeed asked for discussing the issue of North Korean sanctions during tomorrow's USNC consultations as part of the "Miscellaneous" section [of the agenda] ..."

However, skepticism persists among conservatives in South Korea that Pyongyang could change its position if the two Koreas and the United States were to declare an end to the Korean War and subsequently enter negotiations for a peace treaty to replace the current armistice agreement.

"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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