UPDATE : 2019.12.10 TUE 15:43
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Pompeo says diplomacy focused on ensuring no need to reopen N.K. nuke file

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Washington's diplomacy with Pyongyang is focused on ensuring that it never again has to "reopen the North Korean nuclear file."

Pompeo made the remarks at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the U.S. think tank Claremont Institute on Saturday, noting that previous U.S. administrations' efforts to denuclearize the North only resulted in U.S. diplomatic failure.

This photo, released by the Associated Press, shows U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking in front of reporters at his department in Washington on May 9, 2019.

"Past efforts, agreements that we entered into with North Korea, only produced more North Korean nukes and American diplomatic failure," the top U.S. diplomat said at the event in Beverly Hills, California.

"Our diplomacy with the DPRK is laser-focused on making sure that we never again have to reopen the North Korean nuclear file," he added, referring to the initials of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

His remarks came after Pyongyang fired off two short-range missiles on Thursday, the second such destabilizing move in less than a week, in an apparent show of growing frustration over its stalled nuclear negotiations with Washington.

The North's escalatory action has stoked fears that diplomatic efforts by Seoul and Washington could lose steam.

But Pompeo said that diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang is something the Donald Trump administration is "profoundly proud of."

"Our diplomatic efforts to get the entire world to engage, to see the risk for what it is, and to help us get North Korea to a brighter future, is something that our administration is profoundly proud of," he said.

Despite its recent projectile launches, Seoul and Washington have appeared to be trying to keep dialogue with Pyongyang alive, with both cautious not to characterize the launches as outright provocations in breach of U.N. resolutions banning Pyongyang's ballistic missile tests.

In a phone interview with Politico on Friday, President Trump said he doesn't think the North's launches of short-range missiles last week were a breach of trust, although that could happen in the future.

"No. No. I'm not at all," he said. "They're short-range. They're short-range, and I don't consider that a breach of trust at all. And you know, at some point I may. But at this, at this point, no. These were short-range missiles and very standard stuff. Very standard."

Trump has regarded Pyongyang's self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests as part of his key foreign policy achievements.(Yonhap)

Cho Kyung-hee  edt@koeapost.com

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