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(2nd LD) Pompeo says he hopes N. Korea chooses peace over war

All News 09:52 January 01, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with Pompeo's remarks in separate interview in last 3 paras)
By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday he hopes North Korea will choose peace over war after the regime threatened to reveal a "new strategic weapon."

Pompeo made the comment to Fox News shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivered the threat amid stalled denuclearization talks with Washington.

"It remains the case that we hope that Chairman Kim will take a different course," the top U.S. diplomat said when asked for his assessment of the warning. "We're hopeful that Chairman Kim will make the right decision, (that) he'll choose peace and prosperity over conflict and war. I saw that reporting. I hope he doesn't go in that direction."

This AFP file photo shows U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Yonhap)

Trump and Kim have met three times to try to reach a deal on denuclearizing North Korea in exchange for U.S. concessions, but negotiations have stalled due to wide gaps over how to match their steps.

Kim also said in his remarks before a key ruling party meeting that he sees no reason to continue his self-declared moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

Trump has repeatedly held up the absence of such tests as an outcome of his diplomatic engagement with Kim.

"We hope that the North Koreans will reconsider," Pompeo said in an interview with CBS. "If Chairman Kim has reneged on the commitments he made to President Trump, that is deeply disappointing. I was there when Chairman Kim made the commitment that said he would not engage in intercontinental ballistic missiles or test-firing of their nuclear weapons, testing their nuclear weapons systems. He made those commitments to President Trump in exchange for President Trump agreeing not to conduct large-scale military exercises. We've lived up to our commitments. We continue to hold out hope that he'll live up to his as well."

hague@yna.co.kr
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