Pompeo says N.K. launch ‘consistent’ with previous weapons tests

November 1, 2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that North Korea’s recent launch appeared to be of rockets that were “consistent” with what the regime has tested before.

Pompeo made the remark in an interview with KQAM, a radio station based in Wichita, Kansas, a day after North Korea conducted what it called a successful test of a super-large multiple rocket launcher.

South Korea’s military had earlier said the North fired two short-range projectiles from a western region toward the East Sea and that both flew about 370 kilometers at a maximum altitude of around 90 km.

“So it would’ve been now the last 24 hours North Korea fired two — what we think were rockets that were consistent with what they’ve done before,” Pompeo said.

“We are still working diligently to execute what President Trump and Chairman Kim agreed to now in June of a year ago to try and get North Korea to denuclearize,” he said, referring to the first summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, during which Kim committed to “work toward” complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.

“It’s an important mission for the world,” Pompeo said. “The entire world came together around a series of U.N. Security Council resolutions,” he added, referring to U.N. sanctions on the North.

Pompeo continued to say Kim then made a commitment to denuclearize.

“And we are working to negotiate that outcome,” he said. “The progress has been far too slow. I’m hopeful that we can continue to work on this project and get a good outcome in the months ahead.”

Thursday’s launch was the regime’s 12th weapons test this year.

The same weapon was tested twice before, in August and September, but the second launch was thought to have failed because the North’s state media did not call it a success.

This week’s launch was likely conducted to make up for the previous failure and also to pressure the U.S. into accepting its demands in the denuclearization negotiations that have stalled since Trump and Kim’s second summit in Vietnam in February ended without a deal.