Clarke Cooper, the US State Department’s assistant secretary for political-military affairs, said the North’s firing of two short-range projectiles toward the East Sea was a threat to the entire Pacific region.
“Completely unfortunate, completely inappropriate and certainly impedes upon beyond Pyongyang’s ability to be a contributing member of the international community,” Cooper told reporters at a seminar in Washington on Thursday, according to Voice of America.
“It is not only a threat to our friends in Tokyo and our friends in Seoul but to the rest of the Pacific region and it certainly is put at risk beyond Pyongyang’s ability to work with not just Washington but with its neighbors.”
Cooper was quoted as saying by the US broadcaster, “There is certainly room for talk and President Trump has been very amenable to have fulsome conversations, but those can only work when both partners agree to participate in (a normal) state fashion. These missile launchings are not helpful.”
Regarding the possibility of adjustment in US-led sanctions against North Korea, Cooper was quoted as saying by VOA, “I don’t want to talk about pre decisions for particular states, but I would say that we’ve certainly not abated.”
About the North threatening to seek a “new road,” Clarke said it merely appears to be “an expression seeking a response.”
Cooper added that healthy discussions took place between Seoul and Washington during their defense cost-sharing talks in Hawaii last week.
He said that the leaders of both countries agree that it would help to reach an agreement by the end of this year on sharing the cost of the upkeep of US troops in South Korea, according to VOA.