CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that President Trump would consider it "unacceptable" for North Korea to possess a nuclear-armed ballistic missile capable of striking the United States - a development believed to be soon within Pyongyang's reach.
Pompeo said he could not get into specifics but said that North Korea's progress has gone on for decades.
Senior US national security officials have said a military confrontation with North Korea is not imminent, but they cautioned that the possibility of war is greater than it was a decade ago.
"Each time they test another missile, or if they should conduct a nuclear weapons text, they develop expertise, they expend the envelope". "What he does is he asks us to make sure that we have viable options for him - options that combine diplomatic, economic and military capabilities".
There is no imminent threat of a nuclear war with North Korea, the top United States intelligence official says, amid growing tensions between the countries.
Pompeo said "there's nothing imminent today", in response to a question about how anxious should people be over the escalating tensions.
Lavrov said the risks of a military conflict over North Korea's nuclear program are very high and Moscow is deeply anxious by the threats from Washington and Pyongyang.
"The U.S. military is locked and loaded every day", McMaster said, repeating Trump's threat.
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A senior US diplomat has engaged in back-channel diplomacy with North Korea for several months, addressing the deteriorating relations, as well as the issue of Americans imprisoned in North Korea, the Associated Press reported.
President Trump wrote on Twitter on Friday that U.S.
China's president, Xi Jinping, made a plea for cool-headedness in a phone conversation with Trump on Saturday, urging both sides to avoid words or actions that could worsen the situation.
He said the U.S. intelligence community has "a pretty good idea" about what's going on in North Korea.
Trump has responded to North Korea's threats with his own fiery rhetoric.
Clapper called for a change in approach with North Korea in "accepting" the dictatorship as a nuclear power and merely attempting to "cap it or control it".
A Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday that China should remain neutral if North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States, sounding a warning for Pyongyang over its plans to fire missiles near Guam.