President Donald Trump on Friday asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel an upcoming trip to North Korea, saying on Twitter that the United States has not made “sufficient progress” on nuclear talks with the country in what appeared to be his first admission that the discussions have stalled.
Trump partly blamed China for the difficulties, suggesting that Beijing is intervening with North Korea out of unhappiness with his “much tougher Trading stance” and adding that the nuclear talks may not get back on track until U.S.-Chinese trade disputes are “resolved” — a high bar.
“I do not believe they are helping with the process of denuclearization as they once were,” Trump wrote of the Chinese.
Trump tweets were just the latest in a series of out-of-left-field moves by the president when it comes to North Korea, whose nuclear arsenal is considered one of America’s top national security threats. The tweets also appeared to undermine his secretary of state, who said a day earlier that he’ll visit North Korea next week along with a newly named U.S. envoy tasked with tackling the nuclear talks.
It is difficult to say how the North Koreans, or the Chinese, will react to what seems to be an increasingly common Trump pressure tactic of threatening to abandon diplomacy.