SEOUL Feb 25 Plans for the first contact
between North Korea and the United States after President Donald
Trump took office were cancelled after the U.S. 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 U.S. 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.
South Korean and U.S. officials have said they believe North
Korean agents assassinated Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half
brother of Kim Jong Un, on Feb. 13.
A South Korean foreign ministry official declined to comment
on the report of the cancelled meeting in New York, saying the
reported plan did not involve the U.S. or South Korean
government. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul did not have comment.
The meeting in New York would have been the first time a
senior North Korean envoy would visit the United States since
2011 and the first contact between U.S. and North Korean
representatives since Trump took office.
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
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.
(Reporting by Jack Kim and Tony Munroe)