December 05, 2018 11:28
U.S. and North Korean officials held an unofficial meeting in the border truce village of Panmunjom on Monday to discuss a fresh date for a high-level meeting that was canceled last month.
According to diplomatic sources, Andrew Kim of the CIA's Korea Mission Center and Kim Song-hye of the North's United Front Department met for about two hours on Monday evening.
The meeting was hastily arranged at North Korea's request, and the U.S. had expected North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's right-hand man Kim Yong-chol to show up. But instead Kim Song-hye, a much lower ranking official, showed up.
"North Korea appears to have expressed only willingness to continue dialogue with the U.S. rather than any commitment to resolving the nuclear standoff," a diplomatic source said.
But no agreement could be reached. Andrew Kim, who had accompanied U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his four visits to Pyongyang, informed the North that high-level talks are urgent if a second bilateral summit is to take place early next year, but the two sides failed to agree on a date.
Diplomats believe North Korea is resorting to its usual delay tactics to get the U.S. to listen to its demands. Talks came to a grinding halt after Pompeo's last trip to Pyongyang on Oct. 7.
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