Senior US security officials have said that an attack from North Korea is not imminent but also cautioned that the possibility of war is greater than it was a decade ago. CIA Director Mike Pompeo told CBS News in an interview that the Trump Administration has done a fine job of not drawing red lines that it is “not prepared to” enforce.
“An attack from North Korea is not something that is imminent. The American people should know that this administration is doing everything with its power. The President has enabled the intelligence community and the Department of Defence, to be sure, that we’re protecting America from this threat,” Pompeo said.
Responding to a series of questions on North Korea, the CIA Director said the Trump Administration has done a fine job of not drawing red lines that it is “not prepared to” enforce. “I think what the President was doing there was very effective. He was communicating to many audiences, certainly the rogue leader in North Korea, communicating to him that the strategic patience of the past decades is no longer — we’re just too close to him having this capacity to hold America at risk,” he said.
Pompeo was asked about the warning given by the US President Donald Trump to North Korea if they attacked Guam, an American territory in the Pacific. “He was communicating to the world, to China and to others who can influence the outcome there. We had a great success. We have the whole world voting to sanction North Korea, something that hasn’t happened for an awfully long time,” he said.
“This is real progress as a direct result of what President Trump has done and the way we have communicated the threat, not only to America and to Japan and South Korea, but to the entire world, from this rogue leader,” the CIA Chief said adding that Trump has made it pretty clear that he would not allow North Korea to have nuclear weapons. “He’s made very clear that the United States finds it unacceptable for a rogue leader like Kim Jong-un to have the capacity of a ballistic missile with a warhead that is integrated and fully deliverable to the United States and hold America and the world at risk,” he said.
“He finds that unacceptable. He’s simply not going to permit it to happen,” Pompeo added. Responding to a question, the CIA Director said North Korea cannot be contained like Pakistan. “This regime is different. I heard — Susan Rice said, we just need to learn to live with this. President Trump finds that unacceptable. This is not a leader for whom containment is a policy that makes sense for American national security,” Pompeo said.
The former US Joint Chief of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, expressed his concern over the increasing tension between US and North Korea. “I’m really concerned because I don’t know where this goes in terms of a peaceful resolution. It’s an incredibly difficult, complex problem. And we have very strong rhetoric coming from both North Korea as well as from the United States,” Mullen told NBC News in an interview.
“That rhetoric, it seems to me, has taken away options or it’s reduced manoeuvre space, if you will, for leaders to make decisions. So I’m extremely concerned. “And I have heard from family and I have heard from friends about what’s going on, who are extremely concerned with where we are and what the outlook is. It seems to be one of forming critical mass. And if this results in a military strike, the unintended consequences of that, the possibility that there are disproportional responses, miscalculations, it can really get out of control fast,” he warned.
Mullen said China has a big role to play in resolving the crisis. “I think it’s got to be resolved politically, diplomatically, through negotiations to ensure that we don’t have a military conflict that could get out of control,” he said. Responding to a question, he said that the United States should not accept North Korea as a nuclear power. “I recognise that as an option or an outcome, and certainly there is one option is to accept that and then contain him.
“Obviously, the concern you would have with that is somehow he has this weapon. And he is still somewhat of an unknown to us, and unpredictable,” Mullen said. Appearing on CBS News, the former US Defense Secretary and CIA Director, Leon Panetta, said Trump’s use of rhetoric, particularly with regards to North Korea, fire and fury, and lock and load, has frankly created even greater tensions in that part of the world.
“His failure to address what really happened in Charlottesville, and the role of white supremacists, I think also sends a message that he is not recognising the real causes of crisis even within our own country,” he rued. Meanwhile, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived in Osan, South Korea to hold talks with his counterparts.
“The trip highlights our ironclad commitment to the defence of the Republic of Korea in the face of North Korea’s provocations and threats. During the visit, Gen. Dunford will meet with senior US and Republic of Korea military and civilian leaders,” a defence department statement said.