WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump suggested on Monday that Beijing might be seeking to derail efforts aimed at denuclearizing North Korea, but added that he was confident that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would uphold a pact the two agreed on last month.
Washington and Pyongyang have presented differing views in recent days on progress on denuclearization following a Trump-Kim summit in June. On Monday, Trump suggested that China, North Korea’s chief ally, might be interfering in reaction to the Trump administration’s stance on U.S.-China trade.
“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo concluded two days of talks with North Korean officials in Pyongyang on Saturday and said denuclearization talks with North Korea would be difficult.
North Korea, however, issued a harsh characterization of the negotiations, raising questions about the future talks as U.S. officials seek an end to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
Following the June 12 meeting with Trump in Singapore, Kim made a broad agreement to “work toward denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula. But no details were announced on how or when the reclusive state would dismantle its nuclear program.
Reporting by Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Frances Kerry