On Friday, Mr Trump partly blamed China for his insufficient progress with North Korea and suggested that talks with Pyongyang, led so far by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, could be on hold until after Washington resolved its bitter trade dispute with Beijing.
Mr Trump’s tone has changed since he hailed the June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a success.
At the time he said the North Korean nuclear threat was over, despite no real sign Pyongyang was willing to give up its nuclear weapons.
Taking to Twitter on Friday, Mr Trump said: “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.”
His statement comes just one day after Mr Pompeo said he would again visit North Korea and would take his new U.S. special representative, Stephen Biegun, with him in an attempt to break the stalemate ove rthe country’s nuclear programme.
But Mr Trump asked Mr Pompeo not to attend North Korea during a Friday afternoon meeting at the White House, a senior White House official said.
Some US intelligence and defence officials had considered Mr Pompeo’s latest trip to be premature and said the prospects for significant progress appeared dim.
But the Secretary of State had not been expected to meet the North Korea dictator this time around, the State Department said on Thursday.
Mr Trump levelled some of the blame at China, North Korea’s biggest trading partner and a linchpin in the diplomatic effort, for his decision to scrap Pompeo’s trip.
The President tweeted: “Because of our much tougher Trading stance with China, I do not believe they are helping with the process of denuclearization as they once were (despite the UN Sanctions which are in place).
“Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our Trading relationship 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!”
Christopher Hill, a former US ambassador to South Korea who led past failed negotiations with North Korea, tweeted: “Looks like @realDonaldTrump has begun to worry about NorthKorea intentions. Good decision especially if otherwise Pompeo would have returned empty handed.”
Analysts have suggested the US PResident’s cancellation of the latest trip may also be a negotiating ploy.
In May, Mr Trump announced he was calling off his planned summit with his North Korea counterpart, citing Pyongyang’s “open hostility,” only to reverse himself eight days later.
Mr Trump’s cancellation of Mr Pompeo’s trip follows two days of mid-level US-China trade talks in Washington.
They ended with no sign of progress toward resolving a deepening trade war between the world’s two largest economies and no plans for more talks in the near future.