North Korea’s pursuit of long-range nuclear capabilities poses the “greatest immediate threat” to the United States, U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser cautioned during the weekend, acknowledging that the possibility of war with Kim Jong-un’s rogue regime is “increasing every day.”
“The greatest immediate threat to the United States and to the world is the threat posed by the rogue regime in North Korea and [Kim Jong-un’s] continued efforts to develop a long-range nuclear capability,” proclaimed Trump’s national security adviser,” U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) chief, declared during the Reagan National Defense Forum in California on Saturday.
He went on to note that the potential for military conflict between the United States and North Korea is intensifying daily.
“I think it’s increasing every day, which means that we’re in a race,” said McMaster, “in a race to be able to solve this problem.” He later explained:
Not just us, right, but the United States [and] all of our allies and partners. As we know, China has tremendous coercive economic power over North Korea. I mean, you can’t shoot missiles without fuel. So there are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict. So it is a race because [Kim Jong-un] is getting closer and closer [to achieving his desired nuclear capabilities], and there’s not that much time left.
McMaster conceded that “there’s no military course of action” against North Korea “that comes without [fatal] risk” for thousands of South Koreans.
He stressed that it is vital for the United States to work in tandem with the international community to prevent North Korea from accomplishing its nuclear weapons goals.
The rogue regimes of Iran and North Korea are violating the sovereignty of their neighbors, pursuing weapons of mass destruction and exporting terror to other nations.
It’s immensely important that we work together with all of our allies, partners, everyone internationally to convince Kim Jong-un that the continued pursuit of these capabilities is a dead end for him and his regime:
Trump recently re-added North Korea to the U.S. list of state-sponsors of terrorism after former President George W. Bush removed it in 2008, a decision then-Democratic nominee for president Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) described as “a modest step forward” in dissolving North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
North Korea is now back on the list, which also includes Iran, Syria, and Sudan.
He delivered his remarks days after North Korea once again defied U.S. sanctions and warnings by firing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) likely capable of carrying a nuclear payload.
The latest ICBM test is the latest in a wave of launches by the rogue regime.
McMaster said China has shown an interest in helping the United States avert conflict with North Korea.
Referring to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April, McMaster said the “initial indications” of Beijing’s willingness to take action against North Korea “were very positive.”
There were “very significant results from the initial discussion about North Korea that I think represented dramatic changes potentially in China’s — not only their attitude toward the problem, but also the action that they can take,” he said.
McMaster identified the changes in China’s attitude towards North Korea as Beijing’s acknowledgment that Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions pose a threat to the entire world, China’s commitment to complete denuclearization of the rogue regime, and President Xi Jinping’s recognition that his country has “tremendous coercive economic power over North Korea.”
“We believe, increasingly, that it’s in China’s urgent interest to do more,” noted McMaster.
Despite the severe threat North Korea represents, Trump’s national security adviser said Americans should not avoid the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Americans should feel safe [in South Korea] because we have an extraordinarily ready and capable military, and that military is getting stronger every day based on the president’s priority to address what had been this big bow wave, really, of deferred military modernization. He is strengthening all of our services and their capabilities.
Tickets for the event, which tends to attract people from all over the world, are reportedly not selling due to the region’s escalation in military tension.