US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has appeared to pour cold water on the possibility of another US summit with North Korea, saying the US election is approaching and President Donald Trump only wants to engage if there is likelihood of real progress.
Pompeo also told a livestreamed interview with The Hill on Wednesday that the North Koreans had "chosen at this point in time not to engage in a way that can lead to a potential solution".
Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said last week that another summit between him and Trump was unlikely this year, but "a surprise thing may still happen".
Pompeo later told an online interaction with the Economic Club of New York that there was more discussion with North Korea than was publicly noticed and he was "hopeful" it would be possible to have a senior-level discussion before too long.
He referred to talk of another summit before the US presidential election in November in which Trump is seeking a second term.
"It's now July. I think that's unlikely, but in the event that it was appropriate, we thought we could make material progress and the best way to do that was to put President Trump with Chairman Kim to do it, I'm confident that the North Koreans and President Trump would find that in our best interest."
Trump and Kim met three times, once in 2018 and twice in 2019, but failed to make progress on US calls for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and Pyongyang's demands for an end to international sanctions.
Trump said in an interview on July 7 he would be willing to hold another summit if he thought it was going to be helpful.
Australian Associated Press