US Security Leaders Say North Korea War Not Imminent, But Danger Looms

Elias Hubbard
August 14, 2017

Asked how anxious people should be, Pompeo told Fox News Sunday: "Nothing imminent".

Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo and HR McMaster, Donald Trump's national security adviser, tried to provide assurances that a conflict is avoidable, while also supporting the president's tough talk. "But each time they test another missile, or if they should conduct a nuclear weapons test, they develop expertise, they expand the envelope, and so it is probably fair to say they are moving toward that at an ever-alarming rate".

But he stressed that there was also "a very determined diplomatic effort" under way to put pressure on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"The U.S. military is locked and loaded every day", McMaster said, repeating Trump's threat.

Pressed on his "nothing imminent" statement, Pompeo said: "What I'm talking about is, I've heard folks talking about that we have been on the cusp of a nuclear war".

The CIA chief described Mr Kim as "rational" and responsive to "adverse circumstances".

North Korea said on Thursday that plans would be completed by mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles to land near the U.S. Pacific island of Guam, 3,500 km (2,175 miles) away.

The top U.S. military officer, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, is travelling in Asia and aims to "sense what the temperature is in the region".

Dunford told reporters he is aiming to "sense what the temperature is in the region" and will discuss military options in the event the "diplomatic and economic pressurization campaign" fails.

"We're all looking to get out of this situation without a war", Dunford said.

Chinaese President Xi Jinping made a plea for cooler heads in a phone conversation with Trump on Saturday.

Referring to Kim, Trump added: "If he utters one threat. or if he does anything with respect to Guam or any place else that's an American territory or an American ally, he will truly regret it, and he will regret it fast".

The tough talk capped a week in which long-standing tensions between the countries risked abruptly boiling over.

But Pompeo says on "Fox News Sunday" that North Korea's push to develop a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States "is a very serious threat and the administration is going to treat it as such".

However, he said he wouldn't be surprised if Pyongyang conducted another missile test.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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