Trump Admin. Approves, Then Blocks, Informal North Korea Talks

'Someone Overruled State Dept' on Decision

A confusing flurry of information surrounding proposed informal talks with North Korea has ended with the talks cancelled, after a decisions by the Trump Administration to block North Korean participants from entering the United States for the talks.

Exactly what happened is still not clear, as the talks’ organizer, the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, was told by the State Department on Friday morning that the talks had been approved, and that the visas would be issued, only for them to hear a few hours later that “someone overruled State” on the matter and blocked the visas.

Though the talks were only ever meant to feature former US officials meeting with North Korean delegates, the talks would’ve been a relatively rare case of the two nations even sort-of talking, as even such informal talks haven’t been held in five years.

Though the State Department was initially seen as somewhat reticent to allow the talks, it’s not clear why they decided to approve, and later reverse them, and there is considerable speculation that it is in some way related to the assassination of Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia.

Planning for such talks in March was likely asking for trouble at any rate, as North Korea and the US have a long history of seeing their mutual tensions rise in the first quarter of the year, continuing up until the bulk of North Korea’s military has to go to the farms to help with planting season.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of