Trump Cancels Pompeo North Korea Trip Until China Helps with Denuclearization Again

Pompeo in Pyongyang as Korean whirlwind gathers pace

President Donald Trump instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to return to North Korea until China begins again helping to make significant progress on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, he announced on Friday.

Trump’s announcement followed a press conference Thursday in which Pompeo said he was scheduled to visit Pyongyang for a third time next week.

“I have asked Secretary of State Mike 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,” wrote Trump in a Friday afternoon tweet. Trump is scheduled to leave for Ohio within the hour.

The series of tweets came a day after the conclusion of trade talks in Washington, DC, between lower level Chinese and U.S. trade officials. Top U.S. and Chinese officials had previously conducted talks before escalating tariff talk between the two nations and a breakdown of the trade talks.

“Additionally, because of our much tougher Trading stance with China, I do not believe they are helping with the process of denuclearization as they once were (despite the UN Sanctions which are in place),” Trump continued in the series of Friday afternoon tweets.

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

Trump suggested in June that China may be negatively impacting progress on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. He pointed then, as well, to the connection between U.S.-China trade talks and China’s influence on denuclearization. “I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea,” Trump wrote at the time. “China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!”

In May, President Trump pointed out what he saw as a shift in attitude from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un after meetings between Kim and Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping. Trump threatened to cancel the planned summit between himself and Kim in Singapore and did so at one point before the two sides reestablished movement toward making the summit happen. It eventually took place as scheduled.

Trump and Pompeo have been clear that U.S. sanctions on North Korea will remain until “will remain in place until final, fully verified denuclearization,” as Pompeo has declared previously. Pompeo further said, “While we are encouraged by the progress of these talks, progress alone does not justify the relaxation of the existing sanctions regime.”

Michelle Moons is a White House Correspondent for Breitbart News — follow on Twitter @MichelleDiana and Facebook


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