Top U.S. diplomat cancels trip to Pyongyang

World Today

COMBO-US-SKOREA-NKOREA-DIPLOMACY-SECURITYA photo released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 10 of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attending the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang, and US Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo during his confirmation hearing before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on April 12, 2018 in Washington,DC. (AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS AND GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / – AND MARK WILSON)

Washington is cancelling its top diplomat’s trip to Pyongyang after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted: “…I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula…”

Pyongyang has yet to identify its nuclear weapons-making facilities or welcome international inspectors. During U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s last visit to Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un refused to meet with him. This time Washington asked for a meeting with DPRK Leader Kim, but none has been confirmed.

In his tweets, Trump blamed Beijing:

“…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)…”

Trump tweeted that Pompeo would return to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in “the near future, most likely after our trading relationship with China is resolved.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had just introduced on Thursday the Trump administration’s new point person for DPRK policy, Steve Biegun – a Ford Motor Co. executive – as the new special representative to the DPRK.  Biegun, Ford’s Vice President of International Governmental affairs, was scheduled to travel with Mr. Pompeo to Pyongyang. “The issues are tough, and they will be tough to resolve,” said Mr. Biegun about the stalled talks over the North’s denuclearization.

According to the president’s tweets, one reason for the timing of his announcement seems to be the lack of progress in the U.S.-China trade relationship. Lower-level trade talks ended Thursday without any new dates established for future meetings. Both sides said they would follow up with their counterparts.