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Trump nixes Pompeo's North Korea trip

August 24, 2018

Shortly after announcing a trip to North Korea, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been ordered not to go by President Trump. The US leader implied that future visits would hinge on resolving a trade dispute with China.

US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Image: Getty Images/AFP/M. Ngan

US President Donald Trump called off Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's planned trip to North Korea on Friday, just a day after Pompeo announced he was going.

Announcing the move on Twitter, Trump wrote that he'd asked Pompeo not to go "because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

Trump then took aim at China, accusing Beijing of not helping with the disarmament process, without elaborating. He also hinted that his decision to cancel the trip was tied to a trade dispute with China.

"Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our trading relationship with China is resolved," Trump.

Trump concluded his announcement by saying: "In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim [Jong Un]. I look forward to seeing him soon!"

Premature praise of denuclearization progress

On Thursday, Pompeo announced he would travel to North Korea next week with the new US special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun.

Experts have warned that the Singapore summit between Kim and Trump in June produced only vague agreements concerning denuclearization and did not include a concrete plan. When Trump left the summit, he declared that there was "no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea."

On Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report noting their "grave concern" about North Korea's nuclear program.

The Trump administration has also continued to ramp up a trade war with China by issuing new tariffs on some $50 billion (€43 billion) in Chinese goods. Beijing then issued its own new duties against the US, saying it will continue to respond in kind.

Talks between US and Chinese officials this week failed to make progress on the issue.

rs/msh (AP, dpa, Reuters)