Plans for the first contact between North Korea and the United States after President Donald Trump took office were cancelled after the US State Department denied a visa for the top envoy from Pyongyang, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
The talks, between senior North Korean foreign ministry envoy Choe Son Hui and former US officials, were scheduled to take place on March 1 and 2 in New York but were called off after Choe was denied a visa, the Journal said.
It was not clear what led the State Department to deny the visa but North Korea’s test-firing of a ballistic missile on Feb. 12 and the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother in Malaysia may have played a role, the report said.
North Korea had launched a missile that flew 500km before coming down in the Sea of Japan in what the South characterised as a “show of force” to Donald Trump.
The missile was fired on Sunday from an area in the country’s western region around Banghyon, North Pyongan province, the South’s joint chiefs of staff said.
Meanwhile the public killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother Kim Jong Nam on Feb. 13, shortly after being assaulted at the airport in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, by two women who wiped VX nerve agent, the chemical on his face as he prepared to board a flight to the Chinese territory of Macau. ( VX, that is formally classified as a chemical weapon.)
This has become a real-life international crime drama and another example of North Korea’s bizarre and unpredictable behaviour.
These two incidents could be the reason for senior North Korean foreign ministry envoy Choe Son Hui being denied visa.
Choe, director general for North American affairs at the North’s foreign ministry, has previously met former U.S. officials and academics, the last time in November in Geneva for informal discussions
Trump said in a Reuters interview on Thursday that he was concerned about North Korea’s ballistic missile tests and “it’s a very dangerous situation”. Trump did not ruling out meeting Kim at some point in the future under certain circumstances but suggested it might be too late.