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Despite recent missile launches, Pompeo ‘hopeful’ of North Korea denuclearisation

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Despite missile tests, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is hopeful talks with North Korea about denuclearisation will resume in coming weeks.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is hopeful denuclearisation talks will soon resume between North Korea and the United States, despite repeated North Korean missile tests.

"We are hopeful that in the coming weeks we will get back to the negotiating table," Mr Pompeo told reporters at the State Department on Wednesday.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
AAP

"We are planning for negotiations in a couple of weeks and we anticipate the two teams getting back together."

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed at a June 30 meeting to resume talks between working-level officials stalled since a failed summit in Hanoi in February.

Since then, North Korea has conducted a series of short-range missiles tests.

Mr Pompeo has suggested several times since the Trump-Kim meeting that talks were imminent, first saying on June 30 they would probably take place in two or three weeks.

But the mood has soured, with North Korea warning that plans for US-South Korea military exercises this month could derail dialogue.

North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un initially agreed to talks with the US. But the process has stalled.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un initially agreed to talks with the US. But the process has stalled.
Getty Images

North Korea has repeatedly tested short-range ballistic missiles and warned of a possible end to its freeze of nuclear and long-range missile tests, which has been in place since 2017.

Trump has repeatedly held up that freeze as evidence of his success of more than a year of engagement with Kim.

On Wednesday, North Korea state media reported Kim had said Tuesday's launch of tactical guided missiles was a warning to the US and South Korea over their joint military drills, which began this week.

Trump and his administration have sought to play down the launches, saying they do not violate a pledge by Kim to not resume nuclear and long-range tests.

A new-type tactical guided missile at an airfield in the western area of North Korea.
A new-type tactical guided missile at an airfield in the western area of North Korea.
KCNA via KNS

"We watched the actions they are taking, the actions that are taking place inside North Korea," Mr Pompeo said.

"And we are mindful that when we came in there was nuclear testing taking place.

"That has not occurred," Mr Pompeo said.

"There are not long-range missiles being fired. Those are both good things.

People watch a TV showing a file footage of North Korea's missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station, South Korea.
People watch a TV showing a file footage of North Korea's missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station, South Korea.
AAP

"Now the task is for us to deliver on what the two leaders agreed to back in June of last year in Singapore."

In Singapore, Kim pledged to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, and the two sides agreed to forge a new era of relations.

Trump also pledged a suspension of major military exercises with South Korea.

There have been few concrete results since, with the Hanoi summit collapsing over a failure to narrow differences over US demands for North Korea to give up all of its nuclear weapons and Pyongyang's demands for relief from punishing sanctions.

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