Central Intelligence Agency chief: 'Nothing imminent' in standoff with N Korea


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

Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo has offered assurances there is "nothing imminent" in the United States standoff with nuclear-armed North Korea, but said he will not be surprised if Pyongyang conducts another missile test.

But he warned that Washington's "strategic patience" was over.

MILITARY confrontation with North Korea's is not imminent, senior USA national security officials said yesterday, but the possibility was greater than it was a decade ago.

They said the United States and its allies can no longer afford to stand by as North Korea pushes ahead with the development of a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

Asked if that meant that he does not expect any future missile tests, Pompeo said he is "quite confident" that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un "will continue to try to develop a missile program, so it wouldn't surprise me if there was another missile test". That prompted a new round of United Nations economic sanctions, which angered Mr Kim's regime.

"Our response is we're prepared militarily to deal with this if necessary". The White House said the two "agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behaviour".

Thursday: He says that his "fire and fury" warning maybe "wasn't tough enough".

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 US military was "locked and loaded" in the face of North Korea's provocations - have made a volatile situation worse.

Who said it: Trump or Kim?

Mr Pompeo said "there's nothing imminent today", in response to a question about how anxious people should be over the escalating tensions. "I've seen no intelligence to indicate that we're in that place today", he told Fox News Sunday.

Trump has urged China to apply more pressure on North Korea.

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".