By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - President Donald Trump expressed confidence Monday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will live up to an agreement last month to move toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
But in so doing Trump cast suspicion on China's actions after earlier praising Beijing for helping to get Pyongyang to the negotiating table.
"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 said 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. tariffs imposed on China by Trump worth $34 billion kicked in last Friday, prompting Beijing to quickly retaliate with an equivalent amount of penalties on U.S. goods.
Trump's tweet comes after a contentious two-day meeting between Trump's top diplomat and North Korean officials that ended with a terse, lengthy statement from Pyongyang.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry accused the U.S. of making a "unilateral and gangster-like" demand for the North's denuclearization after the two-day talks concluded.
A major sticking point between the two sides has been Washington's plan for North Korea's complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.
Pyongyang has consistently demanded a more gradual process based on developing mutual trust.
During an unannounced trip to Afghanistan, Pompeo conceded Washington and Pyongyang "still have a long ways to go.
"But the commitment that the North Koreans made – frankly, that Chairman Kim personally made to President Trump – remains, has been reinforced," he told reporters.
He further called North Korea's statements following the meeting "mixed," pointing to Kim's remarks that Pompeo "continued to express his desire to complete the denuclearization to which he is so committed."