MILITARY confrontation with North Korea's is not imminent, senior United States national security officials said yesterday, but the possibility was greater than it was a decade ago.
The top USA intelligence official said on Sunday he would not be surprised if North Korea tested another missile, given that it had two tests in July, amid rising tensions between the two nations. CIA Director Mike Pompeo also played down the prospect of war describing Kim Jong-un as "rational", who was responsive to "adverse circumstances".
The call came after Trump made fresh threats against North Korea on Friday, declaring the USA military "locked and loaded" and warning Kim that he "will regret it fast" if he takes any action against US territories or allies.
Pompeo said "there's nothing imminent today", in response to a question about how anxious people should be over the escalating tensions. They said the United States and its allies no longer can afford to stand by as North Korea pushes ahead with the development of a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile. Pompeo touted a unanimous United Nations Security Council vote earlier this month to increase sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear program and said the USA had seen China join the U.S. in demanding that Pyongyang denuclearize.
North Korean officials in turn have accused the US leader of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.
The United Nations - unanimously, with support from China - recently adopted new sanctions against North Korea.
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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".
In an interview with German newspaper group RND, Gabriel said the maneuvers "could lead to North Korea using the opportunity for renewed provocation, for example, by firing an intermediate-range missile at Guam".
He said Trump "will not tolerate" the threat to the U.S. and the world, which is now "very, very clear" and growing "every day, with every missile test".
Formal talks on North Korea's nuclear program collapsed in 2009, and Kim has accelerated his efforts to obtain the ability to strike the US with a nuclear weapon.
Joseph Dunford is traveling in Asia and is expected to meet with leaders in China, South Korea and Japan. We do not seek an excuse to garrison USA troops north of the Demilitarized Zone.
McMaster stressed China's roles in resolving the North Korean issues, saying that the threat from North Korea is very clear.