CIA's Pompeo says no 'imminent' threat of nuclear war

The North has threatened to fire ballistic missiles over Japan towards the tourism-dependent island as Pyongyang and Washington ratchet up their war of words

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Joseph Dunford puts on his hat during a refueling stop at Air Base in Fussa, Japan, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017.

A "denuclearized North Korea" is ideal, but it is not "in the cards" because nuclear weapons are North Korea's "ticket to survival" and they are not "going to give it up", former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Sunday.

Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo and HR McMaster, Donald Trump's national security adviser, tried to provide assurances that a conflict is avoidable, while also supporting the president's tough talk. 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.

"We're not closer to war than a week ago but we are closer to war than we were a decade ago", McMaster said, adding that the Trump administration is prepared to deal militarily with North Korea if necessary.

'I am quite confident that (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) will continue to try to develop his missile program, so it wouldn't surprise me if there was another missile test.

"The U.S. military is locked and loaded every day", McMaster said, repeating Trump's threat.

"He's pretty isolated today for the first time", he said.

"He responds to adverse circumstances", he said.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday he added: "They're moving towards that [goal] at an ever-alarming rate".

Also on Sunday, the top USA military officer, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, travelled to South Korea. Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters traveling with him that he aims to "sense what the temperature is in the region". "President Trump has made it clear that it is his intention to protect the American people".

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.

Pompeo said the rhetoric from Trump was geared at sending a message to North Korea and letting the isolated nation know that the United States policy of "strategic patience" had come to an end.

These comments come following a week of verbal escalation between the United States and North Korea. It also said that the two "reiterated their mutual commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

On Friday, Trump said a military option against Venezuela was on the table, and he described the situation there as a "dangerous mess".

Now it was on countries like China and Russian Federation along with USA allies like South Korea and Japan to work in tandem to get nuclear weapons out of the region.

The tough talk capped a week in which long-standing tensions between the countries risked abruptly boiling over.

"Nothing is imminent. But be careful, the increased likelihood of a nuclear missile strikes the United States is a very unsafe threat", added the director of the u.s. central intelligence agency.

North Korea said on Thursday that plans would be completed by mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles to land near the U.S. Pacific island of Guam, 2,175 miles away.

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