Senate panel approves Harris as US ambassador to Korea

Pompeo corrects Trump says North Korea is a nuclear threat

Speaking at a Senate hearing, Pompeo reiterated that sanctions on Pyongyang would remain until it achieved "complete and verifiable" denuclearisation, Yonhap News Agency reported.

At a historic summit in Singapore earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.

When news first broke earlier this year that Harris would be nominated for the post in Seoul, South Korean media described him as a hawk on North Korea, taking cue from his remarks during a 2014 Senate confirmation hearing for his admiral post that the North was America's "most volatile and risky threat".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told USA lawmakers on Wednesday that North Korea remains a nuclear threat, but defended President Donald Trump for tweeting earlier this month, "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea".

But continued operations at the site "should not be seen as having any relationship with North Korea's pledge to denuclearise", it added.

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"They're watching this hearing", Pompeo added, apparently referring to North Korean officials.

Shortly after the summit with Kim, Trump declared that there was "no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea". "We took the tension level down". "For the moment, we have reduced risk", Pompeo told the subcommittee. Steve Danes, Pompeo affirmed that Trump is willing to walk away from talks with Pyongyang if they go sour and continue the so-called "peaceful pressure" sanctions campaign.

"North Korea is not obligated to any specific actions as of yet, but (these images) certainly underscore the importance of continuing negotiations, and getting a detailed agreement in place to freeze North Korea's nuclear program", said Jenny Town, managing editor at 38 North, in emailed comments.

China has been a critical player in that effort, and remains so, according to Pompeo.

During their April 27 summit, when they issued a vague commitment to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, Kim and Moon expressed a desire to modernize North Korea's railways and roads and reconnect them with the South.

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