McMaster stresses 'grave threat' posed by North Korean missiles

McMaster stresses 'grave threat' posed by North Korean missiles
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White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster in a new interview emphasized the “grave threat” North Korea’s nuclear ambitions pose to the United States.

During an exchange on MSNBC’s “Hugh Hewitt,” the host asked McMaster if he could confirm a report that cited U.S. officials saying North Korea is now capable of reaching a majority of the United States since its latest ballistic missile test. 

“I'm not going to confirm it,” McMaster responded. “But as I mentioned, really, whether it could reach San Francisco or Pittsburgh or Washington. How much does that matter, right? It's a grave threat.” 

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McMaster has previously said that "North Korea poses a grave threat" to America, saying the nation is in "open defiance of the international community." But his latest comments come days after the U.S. military detected another intercontinental ballistic missile test conducted by North Korea.

U.S. officials have been sounding the alarm on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions in recent months, and the Trump administration has urged China to put pressure on Pyongyang to curb its nuclear program. 

McMaster in the interview said he thinks North Korean leader Kim Jong-un should not be sleeping easily, noting that the country is very isolated.

“Since 1953, the Korean peninsula has been in a state of armistice,” McMaster said. “The war never formally ended and there’s been no aggression, no aggression from the United States, South Korea, any of our allies.”

U.S. officials in recent days have been talking tough, claiming their patience with North Korea is over.

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley recently said she is “done talking” about North Korea, while Vice President Pence in an interview after the latest missile test said “the era of strategic patience is over.”