CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended President Trump's tough rhetoric toward North Korea and praised the administration for "uniting the world" in trying to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula while making clear there is no intelligence that shows a nuclear war is "imminent", reported FOX News.
Pompeo sought to assuage those concerns Sunday, explaining that "there's nothing imminent today".
Pompeo said it's clear North Korea's nuclear capabilities are progressing rapidly, but he downplayed any immediate risk to the United States.
But he stressed that the U.S.is pursuing "a very determined diplomatic effort" led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that's coupled with new financial sanctions to dissuade North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from further provocations.
US National Security Adviser HR McMaster echoed the tenor of Pompeo's remarks, saying the threat posed by North Korea is "coming to a head", but adding in an interview on ABC, "we're not closer to war than a week ago".
He played down the gravity of Trump's tweet Friday that the USA military is "locked and loaded" to respond to North Korea's threats. The CIA chief described Kim as "rational" and responsive to "adverse circumstances".
Still, he said Americans shouldn't be alarmed.
Coverage of an intercontinental ballistic missile test is displayed on a screen in a public square in Pyongyang, North Korea on July 29, 2017.
Who said it: Trump or Kim? China is the North's biggest economic partner and source of aid, but says it alone can't compel its wayward ally to end its nuclear and missile programs.
In response, Mr Trump said North Korea should expect "big, big trouble" if anything happened to Guam.
North Korea has developed an intercontinental ballistic missile that can range most of the continental USA, as well as nuclear warheads for its new ICBM.
North Korea announced on Thursday plans to fire missiles near the US Pacific territory of Guam, even though there was no indication an attack is imminent.
"It's that straightforward", he added, "What we need from an intelligence perspective, what is most important is that our communications are clear that the fella who intends to inflict pain on the United States of America understands the USA position in an unambiguous way".