“It is the case that 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” of being able to deliver a nuclear weapon against US targets, Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said Thursday during a question and answer panel at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Since “you’re now talking about months” until North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has the ability to credibly threaten the US with a nuclear attack, Pompeo said, “our capacity to understand that at the detailed level is in some sense irrelevant,” the Washington Examiner reports.
Given the status of the situation, US President Donald Trump has “concluded that we need a global effort to ensure that Kim Jong-un doesn’t have that capacity … It’s now a matter of thinking about, how do you stop the final step?”
North Korea analysis website 38 North argued August 1 that the Hwasong-14 ballistic missile tested by North Korea on July 28 “demonstrated a substantially greater range” than previous missiles, specifically, a range “possibly sufficient to reach the East Coast of the United States.”
Trump seeks to keep North Korea from having “the capacity to hold America at risk,” the espionage official stated. “The president’s made it very clear” that he will do whatever it takes to stop Kim, including the use of “military force if necessary.”
“We are not out of time but we are running out of time,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said at the policy forum, Channel News Asia notes. “There are those that say, ‘accept and deter’… ‘accept and deter’ is unacceptable,” the security adviser said.
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) October 1, 2017
Pyongyang maintains that developing a nuclear deterrent is a smart policy necessary for self-defense. “The DPRK is being convinced over and over again that the development of nuclear weapons is the right choice. And we are boosting efforts in that sphere so that we could neutralize the nuclear threat from the United States,” a North Korean Foreign Ministry official said at a nonproliferation conference in Moscow Friday.
Speaking in Seoul this week, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon all but confirmed that “accept and deter” was the most likely path forward.
“It might not be wrong to say there is no chance for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons,” because the North Korean government “believes nuclear weapons are its lifeline.” Kim "believes his regime and North Korean society will collapse if he gives up nuclear weapons,” the South Korean official said.