North Korea: No imminent threat of nuclear war, says Central Intelligence Agency chief

Frederick Owens
August 13, 2017

Senior U.S. national security officials said Sunday that a military confrontation with North Korea's is not imminent, but they cautioned that the possibility of war is greater than it was a decade ago.

In an interview on "Fox News Sunday", CIA Director Mike Pompeo said he would not be surprised if North Korea carried out another missile test to advance its missile and nuclear programs. North Korean officials in turn have accused the USA leader of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war. "That is their ticket to survival, and I don't see any way they're going to give it up".

Clapper's assessment came as CIA Director Mike Pompeo reiterated Sunday that the Trump administration's goal was to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

"Each time they test another missile, or if they should conduct a nuclear weapons test, they develop expertise".

"Ideally I love a denuclearized North Korea, but as I learned when I went there and had some pretty intense dialogue with them, that is a nonstarter with them", Clapper, who served under former President Barack Obama, told Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union".

Last week, North Korea threatened to strike the United States and its Pacific territory of Guam.

Both sides have used hostile rhetoric, with President Donald Trump threatening "fire and fury" on the North.

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"This administration has made our policy very clear".

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".

"He responds to adverse circumstances", he said.

Guam is a target because of its naval base and air force base, from which two B-1B supersonic bombers were deployed close to the Korean peninsula on Tuesday.

Mr Trump said the United States military was "locked and loaded", while Pyongyang has accused him of "driving" the Korean peninsula to the "brink of a nuclear war". "But make no mistake about it, the continuation - the increased chance that there will be a nuclear missile in Denver - is a very serious threat".

Some former security and defense officials have said that Trump's rhetoric - including a threat of "fire and fury" and an assertion days later that the USA military was "locked and loaded" in the face of North Korea's provocations - have made a volatile situation worse.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., welcomed Trump's pugnacious approach, arguing that numerous president's critics failed to stop North Korea from developing a nuclear weapon that could hit the United States.

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