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Secretary Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang canceled

All national dailies reported extensively in their Saturday evening and Sunday editions on the cancellation of Secretary Pompeo’s trip to the DPRK planned for this week. The papers wrote that President Trump tweeted on Aug. 24 that he asked Secretary Pompeo not to go to North Korea at this time because he feels that sufficient progress is not being made on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The President also tweeted that he does not believe China is helping with the process of denuclearization as much as it was before because of the United States’ tougher stance on trade.


Yomiuri claimed that according to an unnamed U.S. government source, during their teleconference on Aug. 22 Prime Minister Abe expressed to President Trump the view that the United States should not accept Pyongyang’s request to declare an end the Korean War unless concrete progress is made on denuclearization. The paper also alleged that North Korea was strongly hoping that Secretary Pompeo would visit Pyongyang ahead of Sept. 9 when the nation celebrates the 70th anniversary of its foundation. In addition, the paper conjectured that the President’s reference to China in his tweet may have been intended to demonstrate his firm stance on trade with China.


Mainichi opined that President Trump took a firm stance in order to urge the DPRK to swiftly take concrete steps. Nikkei conjectured that the cancellation of the trip was intended to achieve a breakthrough in talks with the DPRK by demonstrating the Trump administration’s determination. The paper also speculated that the trade war between the United States and China could escalate further following President’s expression of dissatisfaction with China. Sankei, quoting the President as saying on Twitter that he sends his “warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim” and looks forward to seeing him soon, conjectured that the President was expressing his readiness to hold a second summit with the DPRK leader.


Yomiuri wrote that Secretary Pompeo also canceled his plan to hold trilateral talks with Foreign Minister Kono and Foreign Minister Kang in Tokyo after his trip to Pyongyang and explained the cancellation to them over the phone on Friday. Nikkei wrote that MOFA announced on Saturday that Secretary Pompeo and Minister Kono spoke by phone on Friday and confirmed U.S.-Japan cooperation on denuclearization and the need for the full implementation of UNSC sanctions.


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