N. Korea-U.S. working-level talks being delayed amid warnings on Seoul-Washington joint exercises from N. Korea
Updated: 2019-07-22 16:33:34 KST
Anticipations were high that the historic meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump would lead to a breakthrough in the months-long stalled denuclearization talks.
After the DMZ meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had forecast working-level talks would take place within three weeks.
"But it'll happen this month starting tomorrow, so some time in July. Probably the next two or three weeks, probably in the middle of the month would be my guess, at a place yet to be determined. But the teams will gather, they'll start working, they'll start exchanging ideas."
But the talks have yet to take place.
The U.S. has suggested to the North that they hold working-level meetings but the North has not responded.
Instead, it rather came back with thorny criticisms against a South Korea-U.S. joint military exercise, warning that if '19-2 Dong Maeng' happens, it would affect the Pyeongyang-Washington nuclear talks.
Seoul and Washington are reportedly considering changing the name of their joint drills.
"South Korea and the U.S. will decide on the name and dates of the combined exercise through consultations. Both military authorities are preparing for an exercise later this year to prove capabilities for the OPCON transfer."
Seoul's Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul explained in a radio interview last week that it seems it's taking time to prepare for the working-level talks between North Korea and the U.S.
The Presidential Secretary for Peace Planning, Choi Jong-kun, said Saturday at a forum in the U.S. that the joint exercise will go ahead as planned in August and that it's not an offensive drill.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.