Pompeo doesn’t want to ‘reopen’ North nuke fileU.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington’s diplomacy with Pyongyang is focused on ensuring that it never again has to “reopen the North Korean nuclear file.”
Pompeo made the remarks at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the U.S. think tank Claremont Institute in Beverly Hills, California, on Saturday, noting that previous U.S. administrations’ efforts to denuclearize the North only resulted in U.S. diplomatic failure.
“Past efforts, agreements that we entered into with North Korea, only produced more North Korean nukes and American diplomatic failure,” the top U.S. diplomat said at the event.
“Our diplomacy with the DPRK is laser-focused on making sure that we never again have to reopen the North Korean nuclear file,” he added, referring to the acronym for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
His remarks came after Pyongyang fired off two short-range missiles on Thursday, the second such destabilizing move in less than a week, in an apparent show of growing frustration over its stalled nuclear negotiations.
The North’s escalatory action has stoked fears that diplomatic efforts by Seoul and Washington could lose steam. Yet Pompeo said that diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang is something the U.S. President Donald Trump administration is “profoundly proud of.”
“Our diplomatic efforts to get the entire world to engage, to see the risk for what it is, and to help us get North Korea to a brighter future, is something that our administration is profoundly proud of,” he said.
Despite its recent projectile launches, Seoul and Washington have appeared to be trying to keep dialogue with Pyongyang alive, with both cautious not to characterize the launches as outright provocations in breach of United Nations resolutions banning Pyongyang’s ballistic missile tests. In a phone interview with Politico on Friday, Trump said he doesn’t think the North’s launches of short-range missiles last week were a breach of trust, although that could happen in the future.
“No. No. I’m not at all,” he said. “They’re short-range. They’re short-range, and I don’t consider that a breach of trust at all. And you know, at some point I may. But at this, at this point, no. These were short-range missiles and very standard stuff. Very standard.”
Trump has regarded Pyongyang’s self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests as part of his key foreign policy achievements.