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(LEAD) N. Korea delayed New York talks with U.S.: S. Korean minister

2018/11/08 12:34

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(ATTN: UPDATES with details from 7th para; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Nov. 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea called for the postponement of high-level talks with the United States in New York, Seoul's top diplomat said Thursday.

Speaking at a National Assembly session, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha cited consultations with Washington on the issue.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had planned to meet with Kim Yong-chol, a close aide to the North's leader Kim Jong-un, in the U.S. city on Thursday (local time).

But Pompeo's department announced Wednesday that the meeting will take place at a later date.

It ascribed the decision to a scheduling problem.

Asked about the matter by a lawmaker, Kang said, "The U.S. explained to us that it received a notification from the North Korean side to put off (the talks)."

  

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha attends a parliamentary session in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2018. (Yonhap) South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha attends a parliamentary session in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2018. (Yonhap)

The minister added she has yet to have phone talks with Pompeo to discuss the matter.

Before the abrupt U.S. announcement, however, Stephen Biegun, Washington's special representative for North Korea, talked with his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon by phone.

In Washington, D.C., a State Department official dismissed speculation about a possible rift with Pyongyang.

"Timing, timing. This has to do with timing as a matter," its deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said at a press briefing. "Schedules change. Schedules change all of the time in fact. ... This is the case we're dealing with purely a scheduling issue, and it's as simple as that."

   lcd@yna.co.kr

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