Two top U.S. national security officials sought to tamp down fears of imminent nuclear war with North Korea following days of heightened rhetoric by President Donald Trump, as America’s top general prepares to meet with South Korea’s leader.
Walking a fine line of backing the tough talk directed at Pyongyang, but not wanting to raise the alarm at home, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, in separate Sunday talk show appearances, said there’s no indication war will break out.
“I’ve heard folks talking about that we’re on the cusp of a nuclear war,” Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I’ve seen no intelligence that would indicate that we’re in that place today.”
The nation’s intelligence watchers — who have monitored recent intercontinental missile tests and North Korea’s improved ability to manufacture nuclear weapons — “have a pretty good idea” about their near-term intentions, Pompeo said.
McMaster, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” said “we’re not closer to war than a week ago, but we are closer to war than we were a decade ago.”
Days after Trump said military options against North Korea were “locked and loaded,” General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, plans to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday.
Dunford will also meet with senior military officials along with Moon, according to an official with South Korea’s Blue House who asked not to be identified. He will head to China next on the previously scheduled visit, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing an unidentified military official.
The visit comes as fears grow that a war of words between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un will create a miscalculation that sparks an actual military conflict. In a call with Trump on Saturday in Asia, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all sides to…