Trump Cancels Pompeo's North Korea Trip: 'We Are Not Making Sufficient Progress'

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The meeting is expected to take place on Tuesday, as Pompeo will likely fly to Japan on Monday following his fourth visit to North Korea, the sources said.

The United States has continued to escalate a trade war with China in response to what Mr. Trump believes are unfair trade practices.

In fact, this isn't the first time Trump has scrapped a scheduled meeting with Pyongyang; he called off his Singapore summit with Kim in May, . before hastily rearranging it.

President Trump abruptly canceled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's trip to North Korea Friday; blaming the suspension of negotiations on a lack of "progress" towards the denuclearization of the region. "I look forward to seeing him soon!" he added.

"I'm fully confident that he will be able to lead our mission in ensuring a secure future for the American people and - we hope - a far brighter future for the people of North Korea", he said.

"I'm excited to announce this morning that Steve Biegun is joining our team as the special representative for North Korea", Pompeo said.

Trump has slapped a series of tariffs on Chinese goods, prompting China to respond in kind.

The UN's nuclear agency (IAEA) has also said North Korea is continuing with its nuclear programme.

US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un shake hands after the Singapore summit
Camera IconUS President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un shake hands after the Singapore

In Friday's tweets, Trump didn't rule out future talks.

Trump met Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June, after months of abuse and threats between the two leaders and the US-led imposition of tough sanctions against Pyonyang.

However, several members of the U.S. negotiating team said they had seen no sign that North Korea was prepared to negotiate seriously until the United States promised relief from sanctions in return.

Talks since then have made little headway, with the two sides far apart on denuclearization and the USA insistence for this to happen before North Korea sees any sanctions relief.

Some US intelligence and defense officials consider Pompeo's planned trip to be premature and said the prospects for significant progress appeared dim. Pompeo will be accompanied by Beigun on the trip.

"If criminal investigations surrounding Trump tighten to the point that his political base starts to show signs of cracking, then he may decide that the time has come to try that ultimate diversionary tactic".

Although the North has ceased nuclear and missile tests and has taken some steps in other areas, it has yet to begin dismantling its nuclear weapons facilities and continues to develop ballistic missiles.

The extent of China's willingness to help pressure North Korea and how much leverage it actually holds over Pyongyang has always been a key question for US policymakers.

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