President Trump has canceled State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s upcoming trip to North Korea, due to take place next week. The President cited a lack of progress towards denuclearization when he announced the cancelation.
In a series of tweets Friday, Trump said that “sufficient progress” towards denuclearization of the Korean peninsula was not being made, and blamed China for hindering the progress, due to the ongoing trade spat between Washington and Beijing.
Trump, however, sent his “warmest regards and respect” to Kim, and said that Pompeo “looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future,” once the current US-China trade dispute is resolved.
The trip would have been Pompeo’s fourth visit to Pyongyang since US/North Korean relations began to thaw earlier this year. This time around, Pompeo had no plans of meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Pompeo’s newly-appointed representative to North Korea, Stephen Biegun, was due to accompany the Secretary of State.
Chairman Kim signed a vague commitment to work towards the denuclearization of North Korea when he met Trump in Singapore in June. While the agreement signed by the two leaders did not specify what timeline this would take place on, Pompeo said this month that it would take “some time,” and that “the ultimate timeline for denuclearization will be set by Chairman Kim, at least in part. The decision is his.”
Since the summit, the North has made some conciliatory gestures to the US, closing down some rocket test sites, returning the remains of US troops stuck in the country since the Korean War, and reportedly welcoming in UN aviation agency inspectors to ensure the safety of international flights from launches of the Kim regime’s missiles.