Top US intelligence official declares “decision time” on North Korea coming closer
14 February 2018
The US Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, warned yesterday that time is running out for any peaceful resolution of the confrontation with North Korea. He told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Pyongyang poses a “potentially existential” threat to the United States and it is likely that North Korea will conduct more weapons tests this year.
The Trump administration has repeatedly declared that all options are on the table, including military attacks, to prevent North Korea from building a nuclear missile capable of hitting continental America. Trump himself has made bellicose warnings, including that he would “totally destroy” the small, economically backward country if it threatened to launch nuclear weapons against the US.
Coats told the committee North Korea had made repeated statements that nuclear weapons were necessary for its survival, suggesting its leaders “do not intend to negotiate them away.” While reiterating the Trump administration’s intention to apply “maximum pressure,” he declared: “Decision time is becoming ever closer in terms of how we respond to this.”
These remarks follow US Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Asia that included South Korea, where he held talks with President Moon Jae-in and attended the Winter Olympics opening ceremony last Friday. Speaking in Tokyo before his arrival, he said the US would soon announce “the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever” and poured scorn on North Korean efforts to ease tensions through the Olympics.
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