Trump: Diplomatic efforts with North Korea going well

Trump says United States is “doing well” in its diplomatic efforts with North Korea, says China making denuclearization more difficult.

Ben Ariel ,

Donald Trump shakes hands with Kim Jong Un in Singapore
Donald Trump shakes hands with Kim Jong Un in Singapore

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he thought the United States was “doing well” in its diplomatic efforts with North Korea.

The statement came just days after he called off a planned trip to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“I think we’re doing well with North Korea. We’ll have to see,” Trump told reporters at a White House event, according to Reuters.

The President also pointed the finger at China for making the U.S. effort to get North Korea to denuclearize more difficult.

"China makes it much more difficult in terms of our relationship with North Korea," Trump said, though he insisted his ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping were "great."

"Part of the North Korea problem is caused by the trade disputes with China," continued Trump.

A statement from the White House published later on Wednesday said Trump “feels strongly that North Korea is under tremendous pressure from China because of our major trade disputes with the Chinese Government. At the same time, we also know that China is providing North Korea with considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertilizer and various other commodities. This is not helpful!”

“Nonetheless,” continued the statement, “the President believes that his relationship with [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Un is a very good and warm one, and there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games. Besides, the President can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses. If he does, they will be far bigger than ever before.”

“As for the U.S.–China trade disputes, and other differences, they will be resolved in time by President Trump and China’s great President Xi Jinping. Their relationship and bond remain very strong,” the White House statement concluded.

On Friday, the President said he had asked Pompeo to put off his planned visit to North Korea, because Pyongyang was slow-walking efforts to dismantle its nuclear program.

During a June summit in Singapore, Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed an agreement which includes a commitment to achieve total denuclearization of Korea, with promises to pursue “vigorous negotiations” to that end.

Subsequent reports suggested that despite its commitment to denuclearize, North Korea has continued to expand infrastructure at nuclear and missile sites.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said recently that North Korea had not yet taken significant steps to get rid of its nuclear weapons project.

Trump later insisted that North Korea is making progress in dismantling its nuclear program.

Commercial satellite imagery released last week found that North Korea has halted its dismantling of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, its only operational space launch facility.