December 04, 2017 09:55
The potential for war with North Korea is "increasing every day," White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Saturday. The warning follows the North's test launch of a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile last week.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, McMaster was asked if the North's latest missile launch had escalated the possibility of war. "I think it's increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem," he said.
"There are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict, but it is a race because [North Korea is] getting closer and closer, and there's not much time left," he added.
The remarks came as North Korea said it could engage in direct talks with the U.S. if Washington recognizes it as a nuclear power.
Kim Yong-nam, the perennial president of the North's rubber-stamp Supreme People's Assembly, told Russian delegates who recently visited Pyongyang that the North could survive for "more than a hundred years" in the face of international sanctions.
But he added that North Korea "is ready to sit down at the negotiating table," though only on equal footing with Washington, and seek a peace treaty, Russia's Interfax quoted a member of the delegation as saying.
The delegation said North Korea conducted its latest missile test to respond to U.S. threats and will not accept to demands to scrap its nuclear weapons as long as it believes such a threat exists.
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