Pompeo says missile launches violated UNSC

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Pompeo says missile launches violated UNSC

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said North Korea “probably” violated United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions by launching short-range missiles last month - the latest in a series of confusing remarks from the Trump administration on Pyongyang’s latest provocations.

“Yeah, well, probably - they probably did violate the [UNSC] resolutions, but what’s most important […] is that the campaign that we’ve been engaged in - we, not just the United States, but that the world has been engaged in - ultimately delivers the outcome that we’re looking for,” Pompeo said in an interview with the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

The secretary touted the United Nations (UN) resolutions, which enforce a set of international sanctions on the North’s economy because of its nuclear and missile programs, as a testament to the current administration’s successful foreign policy approach that “has led to the opportunity we’ve had to potentially denuclearize North Korea.” Pompeo then stressed that the United States remained “determined to continue down that path.”

After saying that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was a “rational” negotiation partner, Pompeo added that the United States was not only relying on words and ideas, “but rather actual outcomes and deliverables, and that are capable of being verified.”

Pompeo’s classification of the North’s short-range missile tests on May 4 and 9 as violations of UN resolutions belies the dismissive attitude taken by his boss, U.S. President Donald Trump, toward the tests last week. While in Japan for a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump said that though his officials believed the tests could have been a violation, he “view[ed] it differently.”

The president’s lack of concern over the North’s behavior, which was followed by further assertions of his confidence in Kim’s promise to denuclearize, makes him the odd man out in his administration. Only a day earlier, Trump’s own national security adviser, John Bolton, said the launches were “no doubt” violations of the resolutions. The dissonance between the two prompted The New York Times to speculate on whether Trump may be unhappy with the way Bolton was handling the administration’s policy toward countries like North Korea or Iran. Last Wednesday, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan also broke with Trump to assert the missiles were a violation of the resolutions, as did National Intelligence Director Dan Coats.

Trump’s administration has stayed in line with the pressure campaign toward the North that Pompeo mentioned. During his visit to Seoul this week, Shanahan thanked South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday for continuing to support the enforcement of UNSC resolutions “until North Korea achieves final, fully-verifiable denuclearization,” according to a Pentagon readout.

U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson on Monday said the United States would strengthen monitoring over shipping vessels carrying material banned by the sanctions to and from North Korea.

BY SHIM KYU-SEOK [shim.kyuseok@joongang.co.kr]
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