US continues Pyongyang dialog amid weapons launches: Pompeo (Lead)

Bangkok, Aug 2 (IANS) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that Washington was continuing North Korea dialog, just hours after Pyongyang fired unidentified short-range projectiles off its east coast, the third such launch in about a week.

Pompeo was speaking on the sidelines of the 52nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign Ministers' Meeting here where he was questioned about North Korea's recent weapons launches and how patient the US should be among the amount of "face time" given to Kim Jong-un by President Donald Trump for apparently no return, reports Efe news.

"You should never doubt what we may be communicating to the North Koreans. There are conversations going on even as we speak," Pompeo said.

"The diplomatic path is often fraught... tos and fros, forward and backward... We are still fully committed to achieving the outcome that we have laid out - fully verified denuclearization of North Korea through the use of diplomacy," he added.

At the prospect of a third summit between Kim and Trump, Pompeo said: "Stay tuned."

"There are lots of conversations taking place," he said, adding that the last meeting between Trump and Kim at the inter-Korean border in June didn't give the US leader "a darn thing."

Over the past eight days, Pyongyang has launched three rounds of weapons tests, thought to be short-range ballistic missiles and rockets, with the latest on early Friday morning.

Last week, Kim also unveiled a new submarine thought to be capable of launching missiles.

These actions are widely perceived as protests against upcoming joint US-South Korea military exercises and impatience with Washington over denuclearization talks.

Pompeo said he wanted "very much" for dialog to proceed with North Korea and to "really get past these discussions and get the execution on the ground".

As well as with North Korea, there are wider US discussions taking place about the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons with other countries such as Iran, with Washington "working to engage in a strategic security dialog with the Russians", he said.

--IANS

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Source : ians

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