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Pompeo insists North Korea nuclear deal still possible despite weapons test

General May 6, 2019

Pompeo insists North Korea nuclear deal still possible despite weapons testSecretary of state echoes the president, saying ‘there’s opportunity to get a negotiated outcome’ on a denuclearization dealThe secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said the latest missile launches ‘landed in the water east of North Korea and didn’t present a threat to the US or to South Korea or Japan’. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty ImagesSecretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted Sunday that a nuclear disarmament deal between the US and North Korea was still possible, despite the country’s launch of several short-range projectiles into the sea one day earlier.“There’s an opportunity to get a negotiated outcome, where we get fully verified denuclearization” and said the US hopes to “get back to the table and find the path forward,” he told ABC’s This Week politics program on Sunday.He also claimed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is on board with coming to an accord.“Chairman Kim has repeated that,” Pompeo said. “He’s repeated that quite recently, in fact.”Pompeo said the latest missile launch did not cross any international boundaries.“That is, 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,” he said. “And we know that they were relatively short-range.”Pompeo’s statements about brokering a deal echo those of Donald Trump, who said he still thought the US and North Korea would reach a nuclear deal despite the fact that talks have stalled since the leaders’ recent unsuccessful summit meeting in Vietnam.“Anything in this very interesting world is possible, but I believe that Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!”Then on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Margaret Brennan asked Pompeo whether North Korea could be trusted to abide by the conditions of any agreement.Brennan pointed to recent comments from Cindy Warmbier, whose son Otto died after being released from North Korean custody, in which she reportedly said that diplomacy with the country was a “charade.”“Well, I’ve gotten to know the Warmbier family, especially Cindy. She’s an amazing patriot and a remarkable woman and I have enormous sympathy for her and admiration for her as well, and I completely understand her remarks. We’re hopeful,” Pompeo said.“We don’t expect Chairman Kim to tell us the truth. That’s why we’re going to verify any denuclearization that takes place. That’s why we will ensure that we see actual on-the-ground- on-the-ground outcomes.”“We’re not going to take anyone’s word for it but we want to work to try and do that in a way that is a negotiated solution and that’s our mission set,” he also said.Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota also referred to Warmbier’s statements during a CNN’s “State of the Union” appearance on Sunday:“There isn’t a plan and there isn’t a real negotiating tactic…” Klobuchar said. “Maybe he [Trump] should listen to Otto Warmbier’s mother who said we should be upping sanctions.”A report from Pyongyang’s official, state-run Korean Central News Agency said Kim watched the drill Saturday expressing “great satisfaction.”Kim reportedly emphasized that his soldiers maintain a “high-alert posture.” He also called for them to ramp up “defend the political sovereignty and economic self-sustenance of the country,” according to reports.A diplomatic summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi collapsed earlier this year, without a denuclearization accord. North Korea wants broad sanctions relief, but the U.S position has been that its approach to disarmament is insufficient.Experts have said these kind of provocations are likely part of North Korea’s playbook to push the US into loosening sanctions, meant to be taken as a warning after the talks failed.

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