Kim can use nukes as 'coercive' tool: Central Intelligence Agency

25 January, 2018, 02:19 | Author: Kim Reid
  • The vehicle that the North Korean defector used during his escape.   United Nations

But the controversial US strategy to respond to continued North Korean missile or nuclear tests with a limited military strike reportedly remains an option under consideration.

Pompeo said Pyongyang was less than a year away from putting Americans at risk and Washington's next obvious move would be to develop the capability to launch multiple missiles concurrently, CNN reported.

Speaking after one year on the job, Mr Pompeo also said the Central Intelligence Agency believes Kim would not only use nuclear weapons to stay in power, but to threaten to reunify the divided Korean Peninsula under his totalitarian regime.

According to the Wall Street Journal the administration of President Donald Trump has been debating the idea of responding to the next provocation with a limited attack on a North Korean missile or nuclear facility.

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"It is our mission is to make the day that he can do that as far off as possible".

Mr Pompeo suggested that North Korea - which has a burgeoning nuclear programme but a faltering economy - may start selling its weapons to other countries.

"The differentiation lies in the confidence that he achieved full nuclear capability", he said, noting that Kim had emphasized the need for strategic weapons since he took power.

South Korea's government is telling high-profile North Korean defectors like Thae Yong-ho to "cool it" by not engaging in public criticism of Pyongyang during February's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. By contrast, Pompeo said, the United States' goal is to prevent that day for as long as possible. "That increases the risk to America", Pompeo said.

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He added: "It doesn't take too much imagination to understand that if they continue to have that nuclear weapons system, and if the Iranians make advances in theirs, that many other countries around the world will decide me too, that I want to have one of those things that that guy has".

Mr Pompeo is not the first to warn that Pyongyang's expanding arsenal could cause worldwide nuclear proliferation.

The CIA's "operations are secret, its officers are consistently at the sharp end of the spear, and its actions can mean the difference between life and death", said Ned Price, a former CIA official who also served in Barack Obama's White House. "We're able to convince him that the facts that we are delivering impact his capacity to inform his mission". "We are still suffering from having gaps". It's unclear how well the United States could defend against multiple missiles fired from North Korea at the same time. "It is not a healthy thing to be a senior leader, bring bad news to Kim Jong-Un".

But he rejected the idea that the United States ability to gather electronic intelligence had been severely damaged - "We're still doing pretty good collecting signals intelligence", he said - and he expressed no dissatisfaction with the U.S. ability to interrogate captured terrorists.

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