"The chances of war, who knows what they are. They could go up or down, I think, based on what we all decide to do. North Korea is a great threat to all civilized people across the globe," McMaster said in response to a question about the possibility of an armed conflict between the United States and North Korea.
The US official added that while Washington had been exerting efforts to settle the crisis by peaceful means, this path to settlement was not the only option on the agenda.
"We are not committed to a peaceful [resolution], we a committed to a resolution [in general]. We want the resolution to be peaceful, but as [US] President [Donald Trump] said, you know all options are on the table, and we have to be prepared if necessary to compel the denuclearization of North Korea without the cooperation of that regime," he added.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula has escalated since this summer as Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test and several missile tests, with the latest taking place on November 28, when the DPRK tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) yet, known as the Hwasong-15, capable of reaching any target within the mainland United States.
While the US president and his national security adviser have been hinting at a possible "military option" with regard to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, the senior administration members have emphasized that currently Washington relies on diplomatic means, with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announcing last week that Washington is ready to start direct talks with North Korea without preconditions despite Donald Trump's earlier statements voicing skepticism about negotiating with Pyongyang.