Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a news conference at the State Department March 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.

U.S. has ‘every expectation’ North Korea will continue moratorium on missile testing, Pompeo says

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a news conference at the State Department March 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.

The U.S. expects North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to continue his moratorium on nuclear and missile testing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.

Pompeo’s comments come after North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said early Friday that Kim is considering suspending nuclear talks with the U.S. Choe said that the North was disappointed by the U.S. and North Korea’s inability to reach an agreement at the February summit in Vietnam between Kim and President Donald Trump.

Choe, who delivered her comments at a meeting of diplomats and journalists, wouldn’t say whether Kim would prepare another missile launch.

“Whether to maintain this moratorium or not is the decision of our chairman of the state affairs commission,” she said. “He will make his decision in a short period of time.”

Pompeo said, however, that Kim told Trump “on multiple occasions” he would not resume nuclear or missile testing.

“That’s Chairman Kim’s word,” Pompeo said. “We have every expectation that he will live up to that commitment.”

He added the U.S. is “hopeful” it can continue to negotiate with North Korea on denuclearization.

At last month’s failed summit, Trump pushed for the complete denuclearization of North Korea, while Kim sought an easing of sanctions. The summit was set to end with both leaders signing some form of agreement, but they could not reach a deal.

After the summit, Trump said that “basically, they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that.”

North Korea denied Trump’s assertion. The North said it only wanted a removal of sanctions directed at its civilian economy, which the State Department confirmed was true. The State Department added, though, that easing those sanctions would basically finance North Korea’s continued nuclear activity.

Japanese and South Korean defense stocks spiked more than 20 percent, while shares of South Korean firms with ties to North Korea sank following Choe’s statements.

She said the U.S. threw away a “golden opportunity” by walking away from a deal at the summit.


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