WASHINGTON — The United States urged North Korea on Thursday to refrain from further provocations, after it launched two new short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.
“We urge no more provocations,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said, as she expressed hope that two sides will promote negotiations to address North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
“We want to have diplomatic engagement with the North Koreans,” Ortagus said at a press briefing. “We continue to press and hope for these working-level negotiations to move forward.”
She added that sanctions “will remain in effect” until the United States achieves the goal of denuclearizing North Korea.
Thursday’s launches came less than a month after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to restart denuclearization talks that stalled after their meeting in February in Hanoi.
In their talks on June 30 in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas, Trump said he and Kim agreed to each designate a team to work out details.
“What would be most productive is for Chairman Kim and all his staff and for President Trump and his staff to continue upon the path that was laid out for us both in Vietnam and the DMZ, and that is a diplomatic resolution and the end of North Korea’s nuclear weapons,” Ortagus said.
She was referring to Kim’s title as head of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
The spokeswoman suggested Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is unlikely to hold talks with North Korean officials during his visit to Thailand next week for Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related foreign ministerial meetings.
“There’s no component to announce on the trip as it relates to North Korea,” she said. “We don’t have any announcements about meetings with North Koreans.”
Ortagus declined comment on news reports that North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho has cancelled his attendance at the ASEAN Regional Forum, a 27-member security forum, slated for Aug. 2 in the Thai capital.