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US National-Security Adviser on North Korea: “We are running out of time”


US National-Security Adviser on North Korea: “We are running out of time”

USS Ronald Reagan during an exercise east of the Korean Peninsula, October 18. Source: https://twitter.com/USPacificFleet/status/920740623044374528

In a joint appearance at a security conference on October 19, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster stressed that North Korea was rapidly approaching a milestone that might prompt the Washington to go to war with Pyongyang. But they claimed that their current approach consists of peacefully exerting economic and diplomatic pressure on Kim until he agrees to begin dismantling his nuclear arsenal — the kind of campaign that typically takes years to succeed, the Atlantic reports.

“We’re not out of time, but we are running out of time” to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program, McMaster said at an event organized by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. According to Pompeo, Kim Jong Un and his scientists are fine-tuning their nuclear-weapons capabilities to credibly threaten the United States with nuclear weapons by fitting a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile. “They are close enough now in their capabilities that from a US policy perspective, we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving that objective,” Pompeo said. “We are at a time where the president has concluded that we need a global effort to ensure that Kim Jong Un doesn’t have that capacity,” he added.

The “global effort”, as described by Pompeo and McMaster, entails persuading China to crack down on North Korea, which seems extremely unlikely, given the history between the two countries. Compelling North Korea to willingly give up its nuclear weapons arsenal seems even less likely a possibility, considering it took many years of international economic sanction and diplomatic isolation to force Iran, a country that never actually possessed nuclear weapons, to agree to restrictions on its nuclear program.

McMaster acknowledged the difficulty of what the administration is trying to pull off. “We are in a race to resolve this short of military action,” he said. “We all know it across the departments and agencies. Our allies and partners know it. China knows it. Russia knows it. So what we need to achieve now is really an unprecedented level of international cooperation.”

“We all want to resolve this without resort to military activity. The president is intent on that as well,” Pompeo said. “And we’re going to pull every arrow in the quiver until such time as we conclude that there’s no alternative. At that point, the president’s made very clear he is prepared to ensure that Kim Jong Un doesn’t have the capacity to hold America at risk [with nuclear weapons], by military force if necessary.”

When Pompeo was asked whether the threat from North Korea would fundamentally change when Kim Jong Un obtained the capability to nuke US cities, the CIA chief admitted that “I’m not sure it changes dramatically, given where we find ourselves today. They are so far along.”

Tensions between North Korea and the US have risen sharply in recent weeks following a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang, including its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 and two missile launches over Japan, a US ally.

Despite North Korean threats to shoot down American planes flying near the Korean Peninsula outside of the country’s airspace border, following a war of words between North Korean and US leaders, the US and South Korean planes are still conducting reconnaissance. The US are increasing their presence in the region, wary of the fact that the new missile developed by Pyongyang may be able to reach the US West Coast, according to russian lawmaker who returned from a visit to North Korea earlier this month.



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  • Bolter10

    US is pushing NK to break, as they don’t want war here, it’s with Iran they want the action.

  • TiredOfBsToo

    Funny how N. Korea hasn’t sailed to US shores to threaten the US, but the US never fails to sail to other countries to threaten those countries and their peoples. N. Korea will not initiate a war because it knows that if the US strikes first, China will join the fray and I’m certain that Russia will have no choice either since missiles flying towards N. Korea will be interpreted as potentially targeting Russia and being nuclear. The US could call Russia and claim they’re targeting N. Korea, but the US has proven one thing to all of the world and especially Russia. That one thing is that the US is incapable of acting in an honorable manner, that is, honoring agreements and telling the truth. Russia cannot take a chance on US intentions when missiles fly, it will have to react. As for N. Korea, the most it will ever do is halt further development. It’s seen what happens when countries give up their weapons (Iraq) and can witness today the intentions to break yet another Internationally signed agreement (Iran). It cannot afford to give up it’s nukes when an aggressive country such as the US continuously threatens it’s existence. As far as N. Korea and nukes, I’m wondering what would happen if they were to explode one of those over the armada threatening it off of it’s shores. Wouldn’t it render the entire armada moot?

  • RichardD

    With over 80 subs, NK can be on both US coasts at the same time. The whole ICBM issue is a distraction and pretext for diverting attention from US subversion of a peace treaty and reconciliation between NK and SK.


  • Rodger

    US: “Halp, we are almost going to war without any provocation! Halp!! Halp!!!!! Sumbuddy pleeeezeeeeee stop NK from doing what countries with leaders that believe in the goodness of armageddon and would welcome pushing the button to unleash total nuclear war with joy like the US, Israel and Pakistan have already done long long ago!”
    What a bunch of hypocrites.
    “‘Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” George W. Bush

    • Gary Sellars

      Is that a real Dubya quote? Seems too coherent and sensible…

      • Rodger

        Yeah, I was surprised too.

  • goingbrokes

    “…running out of time”, “…approaching a milestone” blah blah blah.
    Yes Korea might be able to feed everyone easily and achieve a modicum of happiness – time to start a war!

  • Ronald

    We are running out of mind …

  • Gary Sellars

    These Muricans are fucking idiots if they think the “threshold” is whether NK can drop a nuke on continental US. The threshold is whether NK can drop a bunch of short-range nuke on Seoul, or the US marine base in SK, or medium range nukes on Tokyo.

    Muricans know that if they attack NK, the NKs can burn Seoul to below the dirt line, and can likely do the same to Tokyo. If I was KJU, I would ABSOLUTELY strike with short range nukes if the US attacks. The Muricans need to understand that launching military aggression simply because a nation has developed effective defenses against your power projection is NOT an option. Just because the US itself is beyond range does not excuse them setting events into play that will burn Asian nations into the Stone Age.