Trump tells Pompeo: Don't go to N. Korea
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said today he has directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to delay a planned trip to North Korea, citing insufficient progress on denuclearization.
Trump put some blame on Beijing, saying he does not believe China is helping "because of our much tougher Trading stance."
The surprise announcement appeared to mark a concession by the president to domestic and international concerns that his prior claims of world-altering progress on the peninsula had been strikingly premature.
"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 tweeted Friday, barely two months after his June meeting with the North's Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
Trump's comment followed a report issued Monday by the International Atomic Energy Agency outlining "grave concern" about the North's nuclear program. It came a day after Pompeo appointed Stephen Biegun, a senior executive with the Ford Motor Co., to be his special envoy for North Korea and said he and Biegun would visit next week.
The State Department never confirmed details of the trip, but it had been expected that Pompeo would be in Pyongyang for at least several hours Monday, according to several diplomatic sources familiar with the plan.
White House officials did not immediately comment on what prompted Trump to call off Pompeo's trip. The State Department had no immediate comment on the matter and referred questions to the White House.
Trump laid unspecified blame on China, North Korea's leading trade partner, which is widely believed to hold the greatest sway over Kim's government.