Published: Mon, August 14, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Central Intelligence Agency chief says 'nothing imminent' in US-N.Korea standoff

Central Intelligence Agency chief says 'nothing imminent' in US-N.Korea standoff

Mike Pompeo, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said Sunday that North Korea had developed "at an alarming pace" his ability to launch a nuclear attack against the United States, but was keen to get a sense of the imminence of a military confrontation with Pyongyang.

Long-standing tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme worsened when it tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

Pompeo also said that he believed North Korea would continue to develop its missile capabilities under its leader Kim Jong-un.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo says Venezuela could "very much" become a risk to the United States.

Donald Trump in particular has promised "fire and anger" at North Korea.

North Korea announced on Thursday plans to fire missiles near the US Pacific territory of Guam, even though there was no indication an attack is imminent.

New U.N. sanctions condemning North Korea's rapidly developing nuclear program drew fresh ire and threats from the North. Trump, responding to a report that USA intelligence indicates Pyongyang can now put a nuclear warhead on its long-range missiles, vowed to rain down "fire and fury" if challenged.

Pompeo said "there's nothing imminent today", in response to a question about how anxious should people be over the escalating tensions.

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

Earlier this week, the Trump administration also imposed new sanctions on Venezuela, targeting members of the new all-powerful constituent assembly.

The North then came out with a threat to lob four intermediate-range "Hwasong-12" missiles near Guam, a tiny US territory some 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) from the North's capital, Pyongyang. China, North Korea's only major ally, has urged restraint.

Vice President Pence began a tour through South American on Sunday, but was not expected to make a stop in Venezuela.

Pompeo declined to say how long it will be before North Korea could carry out such a nuclear attack on the United States mainland.

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

"Ideally, I'd love a denuclearized North Korea, but as I learned when I went there and had some pretty intense dialogue with them, that is a nonstarter with them", Clapper, who served under former President Barack Obama, told host Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union".

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