DIRECTOR of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Mike Pompeo has warned that North Korea’s regime “will not rest” with its nuclear weapons programme as it attempts to develop the capability of firing numerous missiles simultaneously.
“Kim Jong Un will not rest with one single successful test … his next move would be to develop an arsenal,” Pompeo said during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday, as quoted by CNN. “Our mission is to make the day that he can do that as far off as possible.”
“We do believe he would use these tool sets beyond self-preservation”, warned the CIA head.
Pompeo emphasised that President Donald Trump’s focus was on a diplomatic solution to North Korea’s nuclear threat, but that the CIA was working with the administration should this tactic fail.
Pyongyang was just a “matter of months” away from being capable of striking the United States, he said.
Tensions escalated sharply between Pyongyang and Washington during 2017, with Kim’s regime successfully launching numerous intercontinental ballistic missiles and its sixth nuclear bomb.
In November, North Korea declared its nuclear statehood after launching a missile which it claimed was capable of reaching the continental United States.
“When I came in it (North Korea) clearly hadn’t received the attention and focus for what this administration was going to ask for,” said Pompeo. The United States was “taking real world actions we think will make it unmistakable to Kim Jong Un that we are pursuing denuclearisation,” he said.
Pompeo declined to comment when asked if there was were viable options for limited strikes on North Korean weapons sites that would not lead to nuclear war, but added: “We are working to prepare a series of options to make sure we can deliver a range of things so that the president will have the full sweep of possibilities.”
A high ranking South Korean official said on Wednesday that now was the “best time” for the North to hold dialogue with the US, reported its state news agency Yonhap. “The US could close the door shut anytime. It is important for the North to stop provocations and come out for talks.”
Voice of America meanwhile reported that North Korea appeared to be preparing a large military parade, having declared the day prior that Feb 8 is the new anniversary of the founding of its army.
This would be the day before the start of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea. “North Korea might use the parade to unveil weapons such as a new intercontinental ballistic missile,” it reported.
The North said it would be taking “practical” measures to be marking the occasion, with one official in Seoul saying around 13,000 troops had been detected near Pyongyang’s airport in what appeared to be a rehearsal parade.