Mike Pompeo has taken a tough line against China. Photo: AFP/Andrew Harnik

President Donald Trump has told the top US diplomat not to make his scheduled trip to North Korea, he said Friday, while criticizing Beijing and sending his “warmest regards” to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the president wrote in a tweet.

He added that he does not believe China is helping on the issue because of the trade conflict, suggesting that any continuation of talks with Pyongyang may have to wait until the trade conflict with China is resolved.

“In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!” Trump wrote, indicating that the days of “fire and fury,” are still behind us, for now.

Trump has explicitly linked the US-China trade relationship to the North Korea issue since early in his presidency, and cited China’s cooperation on pressuring North Korea with tariffs as one reason his administration took so long to confront Beijing on trade.

His comments Friday that negotiations with Pyongyang likely won’t continue until “after our trading relationship with China is resolved,” come a day after Chinese officials ended trade talks in Washington with no breakthrough.

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