U.S. President Donald Trump says he has told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel his scheduled trip to North Korea next week because of what he sees as a lack of progress toward the denuclearization of the peninsula.
In Twitter remarks on August 24, Trump also criticized China, saying it was not being helpful in efforts to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.
"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," Trump wrote.
"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)," he added.
Nevertheless, Trump wrote that Pompeo would still go to North Korea "in the near future," most likely after U.S.-China trade differences are "resolved."
He also said he wanted to “send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim [Jong Un]. I look forward to seeing him soon!"
South Korea's Foreign Ministry called Trump's decision "unfortunate" but says it's most important for the allies to pursue "substantial progress" on denuclearization.
The ministry said South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa spoke with Pompeo over the phone and they pledged joint efforts to keep the momentum of dialogue alive.
Trump met Kim in Singapore on June 12 in a summit, after which the U.S. president said he had "largely solved" the crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear program and that the North was no longer a nuclear threat.
But negotiations have stalled since, and U.S. officials have complained about a lack of progress on Pyongyang’s part.
As recently as August 23, Pompeo had said he would go to North Korea next week for the next stage in establishing the "final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.",
Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters