Trump Delays Pompeo Visit to North Korea, Cites 'Insufficient Progress' on Denuclearization

In tweet, Trump says visit not likely to take place until after Washington has resolved its trade dispute with Beijing, which he believes is 'not helping with the process of denuclearization as they once were'

U.S. President Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 16, 2018
Bloomberg

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday he’s directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to delay a trip to North Korea, citing insufficient progress on denuclearization.

In a tweet, Trump said he’s asked Pompeo “not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

It was a dramatic shift of tone for Trump, who had previously hailed his June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a success and said the North Korean nuclear threat was over. 

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Trump also tweeted he does not believe China is helping with the effort to rein in North Korea because of stepped-up pressure by his administration on trade with Beijing.

The visit, Trump said, would likely not take place until after Washington has resolved its trade dispute with China. 

Negotiations have stalled since the June summit in Singapore. Pompeo is pressing for tangible steps toward North Korea's abandonment of its nuclear arsenal while Pyongyang is demanding that Washington first make concessions of its own. 

Pompeo on Thursday appointed a senior executive with the Ford Motor Co. to be his special envoy for North Korea and said the two would visit next week.

Some independent assessments have suggested North Korea has actually been increasing its nuclear activity.

"Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our Trading relationship with China is resolved," Trump wrote. "In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!"