U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday called off Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s upcoming trip to North Korea, citing a lack of progress on denuclearization.
Trump made the announcement on social media, where he also accused China of not living up to its sanctions enforcement commitments.
“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 said via his Twitter account.
“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).”
But the U.S. President also offered a conciliatory tweet, sending his regards to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and indicating that he was open to another meeting.
“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.
“In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!”
On Thursday, Pompeo announced he would make a fourth diplomatic visit to Pyongyang with Washington’s newly appointed Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, although the State Department later announced there would not have been a meeting with Kim.
Trump’s announcement comes as reports continue to circulate that North Korea is still developing its weapon programs and the facilities that drive them.
The most recent came earlier this week when the UN’s nuclear watchdog issued a report noting ongoing construction and development activities at North Korea’s nuclear sites.
“The continuation and further development of the DPRK’s nuclear programme and related statements by the DPRK are a cause for grave concern,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in its report.
Other leaked UN documents have also highlighted ongoing sanctions evasion in the region, while the U.S. Treasury Department has once again begun designating individuals and companies which it claimed were breaching UN resolutions.
Trump’s abrupt diplomatic reversal is not the first time the U.S. President has pulled the plug on planned high-level diplomacy with the DPRK, after suddenly canceling the planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in May.
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Featured Image: Donald Trump by cornstalker on 2015-12-29 19:49:14