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N. Korea: CIA Director Seeks China's Help

With the Trump Administration determined to keep North Korea from becoming a global nuclear missile threat, CIA Director Michael Pompeo sees China as a major factor in halting such a scenario.

With the Trump Administration determined to keep North Korea from becoming a global nuclear missile threat, CIA Director Michael Pompeo sees China as a major factor in halting such a scenario.

Asked during an security discussion April 13 hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) if he had hope that the Chinese will exert more influence on the North Koreans to either slow or to suspend their nuclear program, Pompeo said, “I’m counting on it.”

Pompeo noted the American history of facing the North Korean missile threat, but he pointed out the Asian nation is now closer than ever to making good on its designs to become a global nuclear weapons power – and President Trump is determined to keep that from occurring.

“Multiple administrations have tried to deal with the threat of a(n) intercontinental ballistic missile capable of putting a nuclear warhead into the United States, and we’re simply closer now than we have ever been at any time in North Korea’s history,” Pompeo said.

“If you said what’s different, what’s unique, what’s new, maybe nothing other than each step along the way – each test, each effort – as the knowledge base increases and the capacity to deliver that increases and draws closer, it both reduces the option set to prevent it and makes more likely that you get a bad decision on a tough day from the leader of North Korea,” he said.

Asked if the U.S. faced any intelligence gaps in tracking North Korean missile development, he the CIA director said, “I spend a lot of my time worrying about exactly that. We’ll provide really good, sound information to the president, but I worry every day about something we miss, something we didn’t have access to, some pocket that we didn’t go pick.”

He worries “that we don’t have a complete enough understanding of all that’s taking place.”

It’s more than just a nuclear threat the U.S. is worried about, he said.

“It’s not unidimensional,” he said. “You might have a nation that developed an intercontinental ballistic missile that has been developed in a way that could deliver a nuclear weapon. Well, we’re talking about a pretty significant military, conventional forces, that can do enormous harm to a major city in the world that’s not very far off from the place they have their weapons systems. So it is a very complex problem. It’s the reason it’s such a hard nut to crack and why previous administrations have, frankly, not done so. But it’s fallen to us that we’re at this time where they’re close, and President Trump has said very clearly we have an obligation to prevent that from occurring.”

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