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Trump cancels Mike Pompeo’s trip to North Korea, he tweets

President Donald J. Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
August 24, 2018

President Donald Trump has asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to cancel his upcoming trip to North Korea.

Trump sent a series of three tweets on Friday afternoon asking Pompeo to hold off, citing insufficient progress in denuclearization.

Pompeo had been slated to go to North Korea next week. It would have been his second visit there in two months.

Trump tweeted: “I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula…”

“… Additionally, because of our much tougher Trading stance with China, I do not believe they are helping with the process of denuclearization as they once were (despite the UN Sanctions which are in place)…,” he continued.

“… Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our Trading relationship with China is resolved. In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon,” Trump added.

In a recent report by a United Nations nuclear watchdog group, concerns were expressed over the state of North Korea’s nuclear program, and how it has not actually stopped the heart of the program or worked toward denuclearization.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has not been granted direct access to North Korean nuclear sites for verifications of their denuclearization progress, but has observed activities using satellite imagery, which it calls a “grave concern.”

The IAEA has been monitoring North Korea’s progress using satellite imagery. The report mentioned active nuclear activities at the Yongbyon nuclear power plant, as well as activities in a building housing the centrifuge enrichment facility.

Specifically, IAEA referenced observations of activities at the nuclear fuel-rod fabrication facility, with cooling units and vehicles in operation. At the nuclear power plant, steam and water discharges were observed coming from the plant, indicating operation. At the steam plant, activities indicated nuclear fuel processing through the radiochemical laboratory.

Mining and milling activities were also observed at a site known as a uranium mine and a nearby plant.

The IAEA report said these activities “are clear violations of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2375 (2017) and are deeply regrettable.”

“As the Agency remains unable to carry out verification activities in the DPRK, its knowledge of the DPRK’s nuclear programme is limited and, as further nuclear activities take place in the country, this knowledge is declining,” the report noted.

The report called on North Korea to comply with the resolutions, and cooperate with the agency to give them access for verification.

In July, Pompeo said North Korea was still making nuclear materials, but provided no other details. He said the U.S. and North Korea still have a long way to go in building trust and achieving denuclearization.