China on Saturday called Donald Trump “irresponsible” after the US President cancelled his top diplomat’s latest trip to North Korea and suggested Beijing was stalling efforts to disarm Pyongyang.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was due to return to North Korea next week for what he described as the next stage in ensuring the “final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea”.
But Trump — facing a slew of domestic problems and independent reports that North Korea has done little or nothing to roll back its nuclear program — vetoed the plan on Friday.
“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 UN sanctions against the nuclear-armed regime, Trump said.
Beijing hit back at Trump’s “capricious” accusations in a statement posted on the foreign ministry website.
“The US statement is contrary to basic facts and is irresponsible. We are seriously concerned about this,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in the statement.
“All parties concerned should… show more sincerity and flexibility, instead of being capricious and put the blame on others,” he said.
The trip would have been Pompeo’s fourth to North Korea, and the second since a historic summit on June 12 between Trump and Kim in Singapore.
Trump said on Friday that Pompeo would still head to North Korea “in the near future,” saying this would likely occur when the US-China trading relationship is “resolved.”
The world’s two largest economies are engaged in an escalating trade war, exchanging tit-for-tat tariffs on $100 billion in goods, with the most recent levies imposed by both sides on Thursday.