Mike Pompeo, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said Sunday that North Korea had developed "at an alarming pace" his ability to launch a nuclear attack against the United States, but was keen to get a sense of the imminence of a military confrontation with Pyongyang.
He conducted two in July, so it wouldn't surprise me if there was another missile test, ' Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday. "It is probably fair to say they are moving toward that at an ever-alarming rate", he said when asked whether North Korea has nuclear weapons capable of hitting the U.S.
But the intelligence chief also said he saw no imminent threat of North Korea attacking the USA with such a nuclear weapon, although he expected the rogue nation's missile program would continue despite worldwide sanctions.
Moving forward, he said President Trump's tough talk and global unity against North Korean leader Kim Jung-un is working.
"I've seen no intelligence to indicate we're in that place today", Pompeo said. "They expand the envelope".
North Korea has been especially provocative in recent months, testing a series of new short-, medium-, intermediate-, and long-range missiles.
"This administration has made our policy very clear".
Both sides have used hostile rhetoric, with President Donald Trump threatening "fire and fury" on the North.
"There's nothing imminent today", Mr. Pompeo said.
In a separate interview on ABC News, Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, struck a similar tone. They have already done two in July, has also advanced Mike Pompeo, in reference to the two test-firing of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) carried out by the regime in July. "What he does is he asks us to make sure that we have viable options for him - options that combine diplomatic, economic and military capabilities".
He played down the gravity of Trump's tweet Friday that the US military is "locked and loaded" to respond to North Korea's threats.
"We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary", Trump told reporters at his golf resort in New Jersey.
"The United States military is always locked and loaded", he said. "The most effective way of preserving peace is to be prepared for war".