Plans for the first contact between North Korea and the United States after President Donald Trump took office were canceled 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 1 and 2 March in New York but were called off.
It was not clear what led the State Department to deny the visa but North Korea’s test-firing of a ballistic missile on 12 February 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 US officials have said they believe North Korean agents assassinated Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half brother of Kim Jong-un, on 13 February.
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 US 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 US officials and academics, the last time in November in Geneva for informal discussions.