December 31, 2019 / 11:37 PM / 17 days ago

Pompeo hopes North Korea's Kim chooses 'peace and prosperity over conflict and war'

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks on human rights in Iran at the State Department in Washington, U.S., December 19, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday he hoped North Korea would choose peace over war, a response to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un saying would introduce a “new strategic weapon” in the near future.

“So, seeing that reporting publicly, it remains the case that we hope that Chairman Kim will take a different course,” Pompeo told Fox News in an interview. “We’re hopeful that ... Chairman Kim will make the right decision - he’ll choose peace and prosperity over conflict and war,” Pompeo said.

In a separate interview with CBS News, Pompeo was asked whether he was alarmed by Kim’s statements - Kim said there were no grounds for North Korea to be bound any longer by a self-declared moratorium on intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear bomb testing.

“If Chairman Kim has reneged on the commitments he made to President Trump, that is deeply disappointing,” Pompeo said.

“He made those commitments to President Trump in exchange for President Trump agreeing not to conduct large-scale military exercises. We’ve lived up to our commitments. We continue to hold out hope that he will live up to his as well.”

Kim complained that the United States had continued joint military drills with South Korea, adopted cutting edge weapons and imposed sanctions while making “gangster-like demands.”

Trump, who became the first U.S. leader to meet a North Korean leader last year, has repeatedly held up the moratorium, in place since 2017, as evidence that his policy of engagement was working.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool

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