President Donald Trump has put the kibosh on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s return to North Korea. This, one day after Pompeo announce he was returning to North Korea for his fourth trip there overall and second trip in as many months, to work on the denuclearization deal.
Trump’s tweets may have come as a surprise to Stephen Biegun, who Pompeo also announced yesterday he had appointed special representative for North Korea. Biegun is a former national security adviser under George W. Bush, and was billed as Pompeo’s pick to lead Trump’s efforts to get North Korea to giving up his nukes.
Back in June, Trump traveled to Singapore for his historic summit with Kim, signing a squishy agreement in which Kim promised to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
“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 denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump tweeted.
Pompeo had not said he expected to meet with Kim during his now-canceled trip. Last time he traveled to North Korea, Kim canceled on him and the country accused him “gangster-like” demands about giving up nuclear weapons.
Trump seemed to mostly blame China for his change of plans re Pompeo.
“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).”
“Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our Trading relationship with China is resolved,” Trump said.”
Then he added, “In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!”
This week, a watchdog group said Kim Jong Un had shown no signs of shuttering his nuke factory.