Trump: China may be exerting 'negative pressure' on North Korea

Trump: China may be exerting 'negative pressure' on North Korea
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE on Monday raised concerns that China may be seeking to undermine U.S. efforts to denuclearize North Korea but expressed confidence that leader Kim Jong Un will “honor the contract” he signed with the president.

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“I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake,” Trump tweeted. “We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!”

The “contract” Trump referred to is a brief document he and Kim signed following their historic summit in Singapore, in which North Korea committed to “work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” 

Less than a month later, doubts have grown that Pyongyang is willing to take concrete steps toward dismantling its nuclear arsenal.

North Korea accused the U.S. of pushing a “gangster-like demand for denuclearization” during a series of tense talks last week with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Overnight Defense: Trump downplays troops' concussion injuries in Iran attack | Dems offer case against Trump on day two of trial | UN links Saudis to hack of Bezos' phone Pompeo willing to testify in impeachment trial if 'legally required' MORE.

Pompeo later dismissed those comments, saying the two sides “made progress” and that talks will continue. 

“North Korea reaffirmed its commitment to complete denuclearization,” he said on Sunday during a visit to Japan. “We had detailed and substantive discussions about the next steps towards a fully verified and complete denuclearization.” 

The talks came as the U.S. imposed billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese imports, triggering fears of a full-blown trade war.

China is North Korea’s closest partner but had previously helped the U.S. exert pressure on Kim over his nuclear program.