CIA Chief: Not Surprising If N. Korea Tests Another Missile

US officials Confrontation with North Korea not imminent

"It is probably fair to say they are moving toward that at an ever-alarming rate", he said when asked whether North Korea has nuclear weapons capable of hitting the U.S.

North Korea said on Thursday that plans would be completed by mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles to land near the U.S. Pacific island of Guam, 3,500 km (2,175 miles) away.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Sunday that there is no "imminent" threat of North Korea attacking the US with a nuclear weapon, but he still expects the country to continue developing its missile program even as other countries call on it to stop. "Previous administrations haven't taken this on", Pompeo said.

"I have heard folks talking about being on the cusp of a nuclear war", Pompeo told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday", explaining that there is now "no intelligence that would indicate that we are in that place today".

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.

Later, Trump stressed that the USA military is "locked and loaded" for a potential conflict.

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"It's hard to put a timeline to these things", Pompeo said.

"He's pretty isolated today for the first time", he said. "There's no intelligence indicating we're on the cusp of a nuclear war". The CIA chief described Kim as "rational" and responsive to "adverse circumstances".

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.

U.S. President Donald Trump has offered fiery warnings for North Korea, saying that the U.S. military was "locked and loaded".

The top US military officer, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, is traveling in Asia and expected to meet with leaders in South Korea, Japan and China. North Korea has previously mobilized large crowds to show its resolve when tensions escalate.

White House officials have insisted the investigation was not created to apply additional pressure on China as it relates to North Korea despite the president's previous remarks that he would be more amenable on trade if China stopped Pyongyang's nuclear program. In response, North Korea announced a detailed plan to fire ballistic missiles towards Guam, a US territory in the Pacific.

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