Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo Reuters

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday he hoped North Korea would “choose peace” after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country would continue developing nuclear programs and threatened the US.

“So, seeing that reporting publicly, it remains the case that we hope that Chairman Kim will take a different course,” Pompeo told Fox News in an interview.

“We’re hopeful that … Chairman Kim will make the right decision – he’ll choose peace and prosperity over conflict and war,” he added.

In his New Year’s address earlier, Kim said there was “no ground” for Pyongyang to maintain the moratorium on missile tests, with the country set to continue developing strategic weapons unless the US gave up its hostile approach.

He also threatened that the US would "suffer helplessly" if there continued to be delays in talks aimed at dismantling his country’s nuclear and missile programs.

Kim’s comments came after the US missed his deadline of December 31 to ease the sanctions that have been imposed on the isolated country.

On Saturday, Kim convened a key meeting of top ruling party officials ahead of the deadline to the US.

A day later, US President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, warned the North Korean leader against conducting a ballistic missile test.

"If Kim Jong Un takes that approach, we will be extraordinarily disappointed, and we will demonstrate that disappointment," he stressed in a television interview.

Kim and Trump engaged in months of mutual insults and threats of devastation in 2017, sending tensions soaring before a diplomatic rapprochement the following year.

The pair have met three times since June 2018, most recently in Vietnam in February, but with little progress towards denuclearization.

Since that June meeting, North Korea has conducted several tests of ballistic missiles.

Trump warned recently that Kim had "everything" to lose through hostility towards the United States.

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