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Pompeo says US diplomacy toward N. Korea 'successful'

WASHINGTON -- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that his country's efforts to reduce threats from North Korea have proven successful, noting the communist state conducted "zero" missile tests over the past two years.

The top US diplomat insisted the US would not be where it is now without its diplomatic efforts toward the communist state.

"Am I confident that our diplomacy has proven successful? Yes, absolutely," he told a press briefing.

His remarks came days after Pyongyang showcased a massive new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in a military parade over the weekend to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of its ruling People's Party.

Many experts have said the new North Korean ICBM may be able to reach most of the US mainland.

Pompeo cast doubt over the capability of the new missile.

"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," he said.

"The North Koreans, however, last year did exactly zero international, continental ballistic missile test last year. That held true for the year before that, as well," he added.

North Korea has maintained a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests since November 2017.

Leader Kim Jong-un, however, has said he no longer feels bound by the self-imposed restrictions.

Kim and US President Donald Trump have held three meetings, including the first-ever US-North Korea summit in June 2018 in Singapore, where the North Korean leader agreed to denuclearize in exchange for a security guarantee.

Their talks, however, have stalled since their second summit in Hanoi in February 2019 ended without a deal.

"So the agreement, the understandings, albeit not achieving our ultimate objective in North Korea, has 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," said Pompeo. (Yonhap)