U.S. President Donald Trump says he has "confidence" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will "honor the contract we signed" for Pyongyang to denuclearize and alleged that China may be exerting negative pressure on the deal "because of our posture on Chinese trade."
The comment on Twitter Monday was Trump's first public response after North Korea's accusation this weekend that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made "gangsterlike" demands that it abandon its nuclear program during his recent visit to Pyongyang. North Korea called the talks "regrettable."
The top U.S. diplomat continued to describe his conversations with senior North Korean officials as "productive," even as North Korea attacked the U.S. negotiating stance.
Pompeo said the North Korea diplomats "did not push back" in his discussions with them in Pyongyang. He said he is "hopeful" there will be a "path forward" in negotiations with North Korea.
Trump said on Twitter Monday: I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake.
Trump also suggested that China could be playing a counterproductive role on North Korea in reaction to the Trump administration's punitive tariffs on Chinese imports last week.
China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!'' Trump tweeted.
China is North Korea's traditional ally and main trading partner, and is a key influence on Pyongyang.
North Korea pledged last month during the Singapore summit between Trump and Kim to the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean peninsula, but there were no details of how and when that might occur.
Pompeo had hoped during his recent visit to Pyongyang to press North Korea to work toward a timetable to end its nuclear program and come up with details of how verification of that can be carried out.
The trip was Pompeo's third visit to North Korea this year and occurred amid reports of American intelligence assessments that Kim is continuing to develop the infrastructure for his nuclear program. U.S. news accounts in recent days have shown pictures of what is said to be the expansion of nuclear-related buildings in North Korea.
Speaking Thursday aboard Air Force One on a trip to Montana, President Trump said he still believes Kim will follow through on his promise to denuclearize and that he forged a personal connection with the leader at their Singapore summit last month.
"I think we understand each other. I really believe that he sees a different future for North Korea," Trump told reporters. "I hope that's true. If it's not true, then we go back to the other way, but I don't think that's going to be necessary.''
Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, says North Korea could dismantle its nuclear arsenal within a year, but other U.S. officials have said they hope it can be accomplished by the end of Trump's first term in the White House, in January 2021.
Source: Voice of America