Trump Confident in Kim, Suspicious of China in North Korea Talks

U.S. President Donald Trump said he believed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would keep his pledge to “denuclearize,” while suggesting that neighboring China might be working to undermine talks.

“I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake,” Trump said in a tweet Monday, adding that Beijing “may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!”

The claim reflects growing concern in Washington that China might be emboldening Kim to take a tougher line in nuclear negotiations amid President Xi Jinping’s escalating trade standoff with Trump. Earlier on Monday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had rejected comments by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, accusing Beijing of “pulling North Korea back.”

“It does not make any sense,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing in Beijing.“China’s attitude on this issue is consistent and clear-cut. We will continue to play a positive role in and make constructive contributions to realizing the denuclearization of the peninsula and achieving the long-lasting peace and stability of the region.”

New doubts about the fate of the negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea emerged after North Korea issued a statement Saturday describing U.S. demands as “gangster-like” and “cancerous.” The rebuke -- coming after a visit to Pyongyang by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- underscored that North Korea wouldn’t accept U.S. disarmament demands without moves to normalize relations and guarantee its security.
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