US President Donald Trump said on Friday he had cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned trip to North Korea because "we are not making sufficient progress” toward the goal of denuclearising the Korean peninsula.
Trump said in a message on Twitter that Pompeo's visit, which was set for next week, now would likely not take place until after Washington has resolved its trade dispute with China. Trump said China was no longer helping on the North Korea issue.
It was a dramatic shift of tone for Trump, who had previously hailed his June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a success and said the North Korean nuclear threat was over.
"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 said on Twitter.
Negotiations have stalled since the June summit in Singapore. Pompeo is pressing for tangible steps toward North Korea’s abandonment of its nuclear arsenal while Pyongyang is demanding that Washington first make concessions of its own.
Trump's statement came just a day after Pompeo announced he would again visit North Korea and would take his new US special representative, Stephen Biegun, with him in an attempt to break the deadlock.
But Trump asked Pompeo not to go to North Korea during a meeting at the White House on Friday afternoon, a senior White House official said.
"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.
"Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our Trading relationship with China is resolved," Trump wrote. "In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!"