One of the top intelligence officials in the U.S. says time is running out for the United States to confront the "existential" threat posed by North Korea.
Speaking at a Senate intelligence hearing on Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned decision time is edging ever nearer for the United States to take action on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
He said the Trump administration's goal is to reach a peaceful settlement through its policy of maximum pressure.
"Decision time is becoming ever closer in terms of how we respond to this. Our goal is a peaceful settlement. We are using maximum pressure on North Korea in various ways which can be described by my colleagues here most of that in the open session and closed session."
Coats added that North Korea's repeated statements that its nuclear weapons are the basis for its survival suggest the regime does not intend to give up its nuclear programs through negotiations.
He warned North Korea will continue with more aggressive testing, saying it will likely pose the most volatile and confrontational threat this year.
The top intel official said the U.S. expects Pyongyang to continue conducting ballistic missile tests and increase its nuclear stockpile, as well as continuing its longstanding chemical and biological warfare programs.
Also speaking at the Senate intelligence hearing on Tuesday was CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
He said that, despite the recent inter-Korean talks, there's no indication of any strategic change in Kim Jong-un's desire to remain a nuclear threat to the United States.
Park Soyun, Arirang News.