Following speculation of an unproductive meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean leaders this weekend, President Donald Trump expressed confidence Monday that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un would “honor” his commitment to denuclearize.
The president also raised concerns that China may be trying to undermine U.S. efforts to completely denuclearize North Korea.
During his weekend visit, Pompeo was seeking progress on the joint statement issued by Trump and Kim at their historic summit in Singapore in June. Pompeo characterized his talks with North Korean officials as productive stating, “We had detailed, substantive conversations about the next steps toward a fully verified and complete denuclearization.”
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Trump responded to the reported setback with a tweet: “I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed and, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!”
I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2018
The president’s comments on China appeared to reflect concern that U.S. imposition of punitive tariffs on Chinese imports last week could make China less cooperative in pressuring the North over its nuclear and missile programs. China is North Korea’s traditional ally and main trading partner, and is key to maintaining sanctions pressure on Pyongyang.
Recent reports suggest that despite its commitment to denuclearize, the North has continued to expand infrastructure at nuclear and missile sites. Pompeo has vowed that sanctions would remain until Pyongyang follows through on Kim’s pledge to get rid of his atomic weapons.
The secretary of state said Monday it was “ludicrous” to expect quick results in talks with North Korea.
Pompeo said they have to convince the North that its nukes are not a source of security, but a threat to it. He said that at the summit, Kim told Trump he understands that.
“It’s going to be a process. There’s many hours left in negotiations,” Pompeo said in response to a question from a coalition soldier in Afghanistan, where he visited Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.