Washington, June 28 (IANS) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told American lawmakersthat North Korea remains a nuclear threat, but defended President Donald Trump for tweeting earlier this month that Pyongyang was “no longer” a threat.
“I’m confident what (Trump) intended there was, ‘we did reduce the threat’,” Pompeo said during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. We took the tension level down,” CNN quoted the top diplomat as saying.
Pompeo also confirmed North Korea was yet to return the remains of any of the fallen US service members who died in the country during the Korean War, despite Trump saying last week that transfers were under way.
At the hearing, Pompeo fielded dozens of questions about US diplomatic efforts to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, which culminated in a leaders’ summit earlier this month between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“I’m not prepared to talk about the details of the discussions that are taking place,” he said,
“I think it would be inappropriate and, frankly, counterproductive to achieving the end state that we’re hoping to achieve.”
Pompeo also affirmed that Trump was willing to walk away from talks with Pyongyang if they go sour and continue the so-called “peaceful pressure” sanctions campaign.