SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea said on Monday that the abrupt rejection of US Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo's trip to North Korea had an "effect" on a controversial inter-Korean liaison office planned for this month.
FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Holds Media Talks at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 7, 201
US President Donald Trump has canceled Friday the planned trip of his top diplomat to North Korea, publicly acknowledging for the first time that his attempt to bring Pyongyang to atomic destruction has been at its peak had stalled with the leader of the north.
South Korean spokesman for the White House president Kim Eui-kyeom said on Monday that the canceled visit could not be considered "zero impact" on the liaison office plan.
"We thought of opening the Liaison Office as part of a smooth set of timetables, including the visit of Foreign Minister Pompeo to North Korea and the inter-Korean summit," Kim said. "Now that a new situation has arisen, it is necessary to re-examine it."
South Korea has just established a liaison office in North Korea as part of President Moon Jae-in efforts to improve relations between the two Koreas.
The office, which had planned the South Korean government for August, had voiced concerns among opposition legislators, analysts and local media that the transfer of material for the office could violate US and US sanctions against North Korea.
The spokesman for the South Korean Ministry of Reconciliation affirmed on Monday that all the materials for the liaison office were intended for the work of the bureau and the convenience of the South Korean staff and that North Korea would not be able to make economic profit.
The spokesman added that the two Koreas would continue to discuss matters such as the time the office was opened after they agreed to open it "soon."
"This question can not be decided by our government alone, but has to be discussed with the North," said Kim, the Blue House spokesman. "I understand that there has been no official discussion of how the North sees such situation changes, changes in conditions." North Korea's state-controlled newspaper accused the United States on Sunday of "double dealing" and "hatching" criminal action "against Pyongyang, but did not mention Pompeo's canceled visit.
Since the summit in June, the two sides have struggled to resolve the differences
Pyongyang has called for a Peace Declaration as part of the security guarantees to encourage him to drop his nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, while the Trump government says that a peace agreement and other concessions will not be made Further progress on denuclearization is expected.
The September inter-Korean summit remains on track, and President Moon's role as an American-North Korean mediator seems to have widened after the canceled visit, Kim Kim's reporter said Sunday.
Report by Joyce Lee; Edited by Michael Perry