The U.S. is not on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea, but the threat of an armed conflict is the highest it’s been in 10 years, President Trump’s top national security officials said Sunday.
“I think we’re not closer to war than a week ago, but we are closer to war than we were a decade ago,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told ABC News’ “This Week.”
McMaster, making his rounds on Sunday morning talk shows, insisted a diplomatic solution can diffuse current tensions.
But he and CIA Director Mike Pompeo also defended the President’s tough talk toward the hermetic nation and its dictator Kim Jong Un.
Trump spent last week trading rhetorical fire with North Korea, warning it faced the “fire and fury” of the U.S. military, which was “locked and loaded” should the nation launch a missile.
“The United States military is locked and loaded every day, and especially those who are on the front lines of freedom,” said McMaster, who’s also an Army lieutenant general.
North Korea, meanwhile, has threatened to launch a rocket at the waters near the U.S. territory of Guam some 21,000 miles away.
Pompeo, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” said there is nothing imminent in terms of a threat.
“There’s no intelligence indicating we’re on the cusp of a nuclear war,” Pompeo said.
Both high-ranking officials pointed to the 15-0 UN Security Council vote this week to ratchet up sanctions against the isolated dictatorship.
Now it was on countries like China and Russia along with U.S. allies like South Korea and Japan to work in tandem to get nuclear weapons out of the region.
“The goal, the common goal we have to pursue is denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” McMaster told NBC News’ Meet the Press.
When asked on the program if there was a breaking point for Trump to strike, McMaster said, “The President doesn’t draw red lines.”
This week’s war of worlds has had world leaders tugging at their collars.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pleaded with Trump in a phone call Saturday to allow cooler heads to prevail.
He told the President that “relevant parties must maintain restraint and avoid words and deeds that would exacerbate the tension on the Korean Peninsula,” the state-run China Central Television reported.
Both “agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behavior,” the White House said in a statement.
With News Wire Services