U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said North Korea’s recent missile test did not cross any international boundaries and the launch would not dissuade Washington from continuing negotiations with the DPRK.
During several interviews with U.S. media, Pompeo echoed remarks from U.S. President Donald Trump a day earlier, indicating that Washington would keep reaching out for talks with Pyongyang.
“So we know a couple of things. One, there – at no point was there ever any international boundary crossed. 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,” Pompeo told ABC News.
“And we know that they were relatively short range. And beyond that – we know they weren’t intercontinental ballistic missiles either,” Pompeo said, adding the final assessment of the missile would come from the Department of Defense.
Speaking to Fox News also on Sunday, Pompeo said Washington had “a high confidence” that North Korea did not launch any intermediate range projectiles, adding “they were not long-range missiles or intercontinental missiles.”
Pictures of the test released by DPRK media indicate North Korea tested a new type of short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).
“We see an unidentified short-range ballistic missile system,” Joseph Dempsey, a Research Associate for Defence & Military Analysis at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told NK News on Saturday.
“A far as we know this has not been tested before, but visually looks similar to a system shown during the February 2018 military parade,” he continued – a reference to a previously unknown SRBM seen at the DPRK’s Army-Building Day parade last year.”
But Pompeo also declined to answer on whether Washington believed the launch violated North Korea’s own moratorium on long-range testing.
“We’ll have to take a look. We know our objective. The moratorium was focused, very focused, on intercontinental missile systems, the ones that threaten the United States for sure,” Pompeo told Fox News.
The U.S. Secretary of State also said on Sunday that North Korean test would not trigger additional unilateral sanctions from Washington and would not hinder the diplomatic process.
“We still believe that there is an opportunity to get a negotiated outcome where we get fully verified denuclearization. Chairman Kim has repeated that,” Pompeo said.
“He has repeated that quite recently, in fact. And so we hope that this act that he took over the weekend won’t get in the way. We want to get back at the table. We want to continue to have these conversations.”
Pompeo added that Washington expected the road to North Korea denuclearization to be long, but that both sides had communicated since the Hanoi summit and made progress since the talks in the Vietnamese capital.
“We’re still evaluating the appropriate response, but I want everyone in your audience to know we’re going to exhaust every diplomatic opportunity there is,” Pompeo said on CBS’ Face the Nation.
“I continue to invite our counterparts for negotiations. We still believe there is a path forward where Chairman Kim can denuclearize without resort to anything beyond diplomacy.”