US: North Korea’s WMD scheme violates UN rules, Latest World News - The New Paper

US: North Korea’s WMD scheme violates UN rules

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WASHINGTON: North Korea's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programme violates United Nations Security Council resolutions, the US State Department spokesman said on Tuesday, when asked about missile launches by Pyongyang.

"The entire North Korean WMD programme, it is in conflict with the UN Security Council resolutions. But what the US is focused on here... is in trying to negotiate a peaceful end to the North Korean WMD programme," State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus told reporters.

Ms Ortagus had been asked to make clear the State Department's position after President Donald Trump seemed to contradict his National Security Adviser John Bolton over the North Korean launches.

Mr Bolton said on Saturday that there was "no doubt" the launches violated UN resolutions as they included short-range ballistic missiles.

Ms Ortagus said the State Department had yet to share publicly its assessment of whether the launches involved ballistic missiles. However, the Pentagon said on May 9 that launches by North Korea that day consisted of ballistic missiles that flew in excess of 300km.

During a visit to Japan on Monday, Mr Trump alluded to Mr Bolton's views and said he disagreed.

"My people think it could have been a violation ... I view it differently," Mr Trump said, adding that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had perhaps wanted "to get attention".

He stressed there had been "no nuclear tests, no ballistic missiles going out, no long-range missiles going out".

Asked whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed with Mr Trump or Mr Bolton, Ms Ortagus said: "I don't think it was lost on any of us that the launches were an attempt to send a message."

She said the US wanted denuclearisation talks with North Korea to continue. "That's our focus here," she added.

North Korea in a statement on Monday denounced Mr Bolton as "more than ignorant" and said giving up missile tests would mean giving up the right to self-defence and that "whatever is launched is bound to fly drawing a ballistic trajectory". - REUTERS