Pompeo was due to return to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for another round of negotiations, but now all that may be on hold as Trump believes the socialist country hasn't done enough towards the removal of nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula, which the two nations agreed upon at their historic summit in Singapore in June.
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…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2018
Trump seemed to lay the blame for the denuclearization stall partly at the feet of China, with which the United States is presently in a steadily escalating trade war. Trump has seen Chinese President Xi Jinping as key to putting pressure on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to cooperate with US goals.
…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)…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2018
The news comes just days after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, released a report saying that North Korea had not totally stopped its nuclear activities, Sputnik reported.
"The continuation and further development of the DPRK's nuclear program and related statements by the DPRK are a cause for grave concern," the IAEA said in a report published Monday.
…Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our Trading relationship with China is resolved. In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2018
However, in an interview with Reuters that same day, Trump indicated that North Korea had taken specific steps toward denuclearization and that he looked forward to seeing Kim again soon for further negotiations. Friday's move would seem to be a step away from that position, even as the US President continues to hedge his bets by sending his "warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim."
This would have been Pompeo's fourth trip to the socialist East Asian nation, although last time he went in early July, Kim snubbed him in favor of visiting a potato farm near the Chinese border, Sputnik reported. Of course, according to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert earlier this week, Pompeo wasn't scheduled to meet with Kim this time anyway.
Due to go with Pompeo was the newly appointed special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, whose purpose is to "direct US policy towards North Korea and lead our efforts to achieve President Trump's goal of the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Kim Jong Un," Pompeo said Thursday, announcing the appointment, Sputnik reported.