U.S. diplomacy with North Korea under President Donald Trump has been successful in that it has led to "reduced" threats, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday, even though Pyongyang showed off what appears to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile in its recent military parade.
"So your question was am I confident that our diplomacy has proven successful? Yes, absolutely," Pompeo said at a press conference.
Pompeo expressed doubt over whether North Korea's newly unveiled missile, which is larger than an ICBM test-fired in 2017, can immediately be seen as posing a threat to the United States.
"It's important to know that when a nation builds out its missile program, the most important thing they do to make sure that it's actually functional is to test those missiles," he said.
"You should know that the Chinese Communist Party conducted more missile tests last year than the rest of the world combined. The North Koreans, however...did exactly zero intercontinental ballistic missile tests last year. And that held true for the year before that as well," he added.
The last time North Korea tested an ICBM that could potentially deliver a nuclear warhead to the U.S. mainland was November 2017. It has not conducted a nuclear test since September the same year.
Following a period of heightened tension over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats, Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the first-ever summit between the two countries in June 2018 in Singapore.
They agreed at the time that Washington would provide security guarantees to Pyongyang in return for "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
But they fell short of bridging the gap between demands by the United States and North Korea's calls for sanctions relief at their second summit in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi in February 2019.
"The agreement, the understandings, albeit not achieving our ultimate objective in North Korea, has certainly led to reduced risk" as compared to "where we would have been had we continued on the path that the previous administration had engaged in," Pompeo said.