North Korea still producing fissile material despite pledge, Pompeo says
North Korea North Korea still producing fissile material despite pledge, Pompeo says
Secretary of state declined to respond when asked if North Korea was still pursuing submarine-launched missiles at Senate hearing
North Korea is still producing fissile material for nuclear bombs in spite of its pledge to denuclearize, according to US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
As ked at a Senate committee hearing whether this was the case, Pompeo responded on Wednesday by saying: âYes, thatâs correct ... Yes, they continue to produce fissile material.â
Pompeo declined to respond when asked whether North Korea was continuing to pursue submarine-launched ballistic missiles or whether North Koreaâs nuclear program was advancing generally.
Pompeo said he would be happy to answer the latter question if necessary in a classified setting but suggested public statements on the issue would not help âa complex negotiation with a difficult adversaryâ.North Korea: satellite images show dismantling of missile test facilities Read more
Pompeo defended what he termed progress in talks with North Korea stemming from an unprecedented 12 June summit between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in sometimes testy exchanges with skeptical lawmakers.
He said the United States was engaged in âpa tient diplomacyâ to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, but would not let the process âdrag out to no endâ.
Briefing on his 5-7 July visit to North Korea, Pompeo said he had emphasized this position in âproductiveâ discussions with his North Korean interlocutor, Kim Yong-chol.
He said Trump remained upbeat about the prospects for North Korean denuclearization, but Kim needed to follow through on his summit commitments.
Pompeo said US-North Korea policy was guided by a principle stated by Trump on 17 July that âdiplomacy and engagement are preferable to conflict and hostilityâ.
Trump has hailed his summit with Kim as a success, but questions have been growing about North Koreaâs willingness to give up a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States.
Kim committed in a summit statement to work towards denuclearization but Pyongyang has offered no details as to how it might go about this.
Pompeo left Pyongyang on 7 July saying he had made progress on key issues, only for North Korea to accuse his delegation hours later of making âgangster-likeâ demands.
Pompeo reiterated that North Korea had agreed to denuclearize. However, he did not respond when asked by Senator Bob Menendez whether Pyongyang agreed with the US definition of denuclearization, except to say he was fully confident North Korea understood this.
Menendez, the ranking member of the committee, called Trumpâs meeting with Kim âa reality TV summit that was little more than a photo-op with a brutal dictatorâ.
âWe have seen only a vague agreement of promises to make more promises - but with weaker commitments than North Korea has previously made,â he said.North Korean economy sees sharpest decline in 20 years as sanctions bite Read more
Trump said last week there was âno rushâ and âno time limitâ on the denuclearization negotiations, b ut Pompeo has given varying statements about how patient Washington might be.
On Wednesday, Pompeo conceded that there was an âawful long way to goâ but in answer to a question, said the US goal was for North Koreaâs complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization by the end of Trumpâs current term in office, which runs until January 2021, âmore quickly if possibleâ.
- North Korea
- Mike Pompeo
- Nuclear weapons
- Asia Pacific
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