Tags: Donald Trump | North Korea | mcmaster | north korea | denuclearize | options | on table
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Sunday, 16 Apr 2017 10:39 AM
North Korea's failed missile launch Saturday fits into the country's "pattern of provocative behavior," but there is an international consensus now, including with the leadership of China, that such actions can't continue, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday.
"The president has made it clear that he'll not accept the United States and its allies and partners in the region being under threat from this hostile regime with nuclear weapons," McMaster told ABC's Martha Raddatz on the "This Week" program.
But, meanwhile, the military option is on the table, he confirmed, emphasizing that "all options are on the table."
The United States is working together with its allies and partners, and with China's leadership, to develop a wide range of options, McMaster said.
In addition, President Donald Trump has asked the National Security Council to integrate the efforts of the departments of Defense and State with the nation's intelligence agencies to provide him with options to use in the event that the North Korean regime "refuses to denuclearize."
McMaster, meanwhile, said he has not been in touch with the intelligence community to determine the types of missiles North Korea had on display during its annual parade Saturday to celebrate the 105th birthday of Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founding ruler and grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.
"Of course, the purpose of that parade is to sort of demonstrate military prowess in a threatening way, and so whether those weapons are real or fake is unclear," said McMaster.
However, Trump has made it very clear that he would not announce in advance what he'd do in a particular situation, including if North Korea had tested a nuclear weapon, as last week many officials feared would happen, said McMaster.
McMaster, though, deferred on a question about how close he thinks North Korea is to having a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States.
"Though this was a failed missile, they get better," he said. "They learn lessons. So, what's critical for them is to stop this destabilizing behavior. Stop the development of the weapons. Denuclearize. That is in the best interests of the people of the region."
Kim's regime is unpredictable, though, he said, as he has "demonstrated his brutality by murdering his own brother, by murdering others in his family," and by imprisoning large numbers of people.
"What Kim Jong Un is doing is a threat to all people in the region, and globally as well," said McMaster. "This is someone who has said not only does he want to develop a nuclear weapon, but he wants to use to it coerce others. He said he was willing to proliferate nuclear weapons once he develops them. And so this is a grave threat to all people."
McMaster also discussed the Syria situation, saying it remains to be seen if more U.S. troops are needed there.
"What we're doing now is supporting partner forces in Syria and in certain portions of the country. Including the northeastern part of the country, along the Euphrates River Valley," he said. "It's a matter of time, only, until ISIS is defeated there."
He did, however, condemn Russia for its support of the Bashar al Assad regime.
"Russia has given support to a murderous regime in Syria that has perpetuated a civil war and a cycle of violence that, along with obviously the brutal efforts of and actions of ISIS, have brought suffering to so many people, have created a crisis within Syria that has bled over into Iraq, and of course has bled over into neighboring countries and into Europe and so forth," McMaster said.
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