“How concerned are you about this ICBM? How much of a threat do you think Americans should feel from it? And are you still confident that the diplomacy launched by you and by President Trump with North Korea has been successful in reducing the threat?” asked a reporter following a Wednesday address by the secretary of state.
“Yes,” Pompeo responded, only answering the last question.
“Yeah, but what’s your concern about the missiles-” asked the reporter, who was then interrupted by laughter from the secretary of state.
“It’s important to know that when a nation builds out its missile program, the most important thing they do to make sure that it’s actually functional is to test those missiles,” Pompeo noted.
He emphasized that Beijing “conducted more missile tests last year than the rest of the world combined.”
“The North Koreans, however, last year did exactly zero intercontinental ballistic missile tests. The same held true for the year before that as well,” Pompeo noted.
He went on to declare that while Pyongyang did not completely denuclearize as Washington pushed for during negotiations, the Trump administration’s actions have “certainly led to reduced risk from the United States vis where we would have been had we continued on the path that the previous administration had engaged in.”
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, however, appears to take the DPRK’s ballistic missile program more seriously.
“We agree that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs remain a serious threat to the security and stability of the region and the world,” said Esper on Wednesday, prior to a meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook.
The US officials’ comments came just days after Pyongyang debuted its new ICBM during a military parade commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the nation.
They want to tell us— Mohan தமிழன் (@moku_tweetz) October 11, 2020
(a) it’s big,
(b) it’s mobile/transportable, &
(c) they have more than one missile and TEL. Happy hunting. 🔥#ICBM
North Korea Rolls Out A Monster-Size ICBM—One That Could Scatter Nukes On U.S. Cities. pic.twitter.com/o0gr29m3Vo
“We will continue to build our national defense power and self-defensive war deterrence,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said at the time, vowing to not use the nation’s military power preemptively, Reuters reported.