Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US’ Pompeo downplays ICBM risk

US’ Pompeo downplays ICBM risk

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a news conference minimises the risks from North Korea. POOL/AFP

US’ Pompeo downplays ICBM risk

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday played down North Korea’s parading of a massive new long-range missile, saying that agreements reached by President Donald Trump had succeeded in reducing risks.

At a military parade on Saturday in Pyongyang, leader Kim Jong-un viewed an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that analysts say is the largest road-mobile, liquid-fuelled missile anywhere in the world.

But Pompeo, who arranged Trump’s landmark summit with Kim in 2018, said that only testing can make sure that a missile is functional.

Pompeo told reporters: “The North Koreans, however, last year did exactly zero intercontinental ballistic missile tests. The same held true for the year before that.

“So the agreement, the understandings, albeit not achieving our ultimate objective in North Korea, has certainly led to reduced risks for the United States versus where we would have been had we continued on the path that the previous administration had engaged in.”

At the Pentagon, defence secretary Mark Esper received his South Korean counterpart Suh Wook and said that the allies both still sought the “final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea”.

Esper said: “We agree that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes remain a serious threat to the security and stability of the region and the world.”

North Korea has not carried out nuclear or long-range missile tests since Kim signed a joint declaration with Trump at the June 2018 summit in Singapore.

Trump, who is seeking another term in November 3 elections, has frequently boasted that he has prevented all-out war after soaring tensions and North Korean rocket and nuclear tests.

Yet despite Trump’s statement that he and Kim “fell in love”, diplomacy has been at a standstill for a year with no sign of a lasting deal that would permanently end North Korea’s nuclear programme.

In his New Year’s address, Kim warned that North Korea is no longer bound by a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range ballistic missile tests, although he has not followed through on the threats.

Analysts say that the missile unveiled on Saturday was likely to be designed to carry multiple warheads in independent re-entry vehicles.

If operational, such a system could overwhelm US missile defences, according to analysts.


  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in