China Condemns 'Irresponsible' Trump Accusations Over N. Korea

China Condemns 'Irresponsible' Trump Accusations Over N. Korea

China on Saturday called President Trump "irresponsible" after he canceled the secretary of state's planned visit to North Korea and said Beijing is no longer working to disarm the hermit kingdom because of his trade war.

"Because of our much tougher trading stance with China, I do not believe they are helping with the process of denuclearisation as they once were" despite United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang, he added. "We are seriously concerned about this", Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement posted on the ministry's website. Later, however, relations took a U-turn, with Trump and Kim holding a summit in Singapore and the North agreeing to dismantle its nuclear testing site. Pompeo has pressed for tangible steps toward North Korea's abandonment of its nuclear arsenal while Pyongyang is demanding that Washington first make concessions of its own.

National security adviser John Bolton, considered a leading North Korea hawk, weighed in by speakerphone during a visit to Ukraine, US officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

White House officials declined to specify what prompted Trump to call off Pompeo's trip or what had changed since the president's rose-colored-glasses assessments of the nuclear situation just days ago.

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.

Meanwhile, while describing the postponement of Pompeo's trip as a setback, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said it expects China to continue serving a "constructive role" in worldwide efforts to solve the nuclear crisis and noted that Beijing continues to express commitment to fully implement sanctions against the North.

The statement by the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs came hours after US President Donald Trump directed Pompeo to delay his trip because of what he saw as a lack of progress on nuclear disarmament.

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North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said US special units based in Japan were staging an air drill aimed at "the infiltration into Pyongyang", citing a South Korean media outlet.

A spokesman said Moon's planned trip to Pyongyang in September - his third summit with Kim this year - now took on added significance.

The editorial, which did not mention the Pompeo visit, urged Washington to give up the "pointless military gamble" and implement the Singapore agreement, in which the leaders pledged to work towards a complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Pompeo and Trump have both promised Kim Jong Un a prosperous future for North Korea should he abandon nuclear weapons. There Trump maintained "we're doing well with North Korea". "President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most unsafe problem", he added. China is North Korea's biggest trade partner, and is widely believed to hold the greatest sway over Pyongyang.

Progress on denuclearization appears to have stalled, however, as US officials have been trying without success to persuade North Korea to detail the extent of its nuclear arsenal.

Some analysts suggest Trump's move may be a negotiating ploy.

A South Korean, right, and North Korean army soldiers stand guard August 13 at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone.

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