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‘We still believe there’s a path forward’: Pompeo says North Korean launches won’t derail diplomacy

Secretary Pompeo delivers remarks at the Foreign Affairs Day celebration, at the Department of State, on May 3, 2019. (State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain)

North Korea’s missile launches Saturday “didn’t present a threat to the United States” and its allies, nor did it derail the Trump administration’s attempts to reach a denuclearization deal with the isolated communist nation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday.

Pompeo stressed that the missiles were short-range and therefore did not violate the agreed to moratorium on missile launches, which he said only involved intercontinental missiles.

“At no point was there ever any international boundary crossed,” Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week” when asked about the missiles. “They landed in the water east of North Korea and didn’t present a threat to the United States or to South Korea or Japan. We know that they were relatively short range. And beyond that, we know that they weren’t intercontinental ballistic missiles either.

“We still believe that there’s an opportunity to get a negotiated outcome where we get fully verified denuclearization,” Pompeo said. “So we hope that this act that he took over the weekend won’t get in the way. We want to get back to the table.

“We still believe there’s a path forward.”

Pompeo was asked about President Donald Trump’s tweet Saturday in which he said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “knows that I am with him.”

Friday, Cindy Warmbier – whose son Otto died as a result of injuries he suffered while a prisoner in North Korea – called the Kim regime a “cancer on the Earth” and said the efforts at diplomacy are a “charade.”

Pompeo said Warmbier is a “noble, wonderful, gracious woman,” for whom he has “enormous sympathy.” But he defended the president, saying Trump has “put on the toughest sanctions in the history of the world against North Korea.”

“And the president understands the challenges. The president deeply understands this,” he said.

“You’ll recall the beginning of the administration where the president spoke about fire and fury,” Pompeo said. “Before we go another direction, we want to see if there’s any possibility we can achieve this outcome. It’s very straightforward.”


© 2019 USA Today

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