Graham on North Korea: 'We're headed toward a war if things don't change'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) repeated claims that the United States is “headed toward a war” if North Korea fails to stop its ongoing missile and nuclear tests.

“If there’s a war with North Korea, it’s because North Korea brought it on itself,” Graham told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday evening. "And we're headed toward a war if things don't change."

The isolated nation on Tuesday fired what the Pentagon assessed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) — the first such launch in more than two months. It flew more than 1,000 km before falling into the Sea of Japan.

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Pyongyang later claimed that its latest missile launch was a new, more advanced weapon capable of reaching any point on the U.S. mainland.

North Korean state television said leader Kim Jong Un personally ordered the launch of the ICBM, called the Hwasong-15.

The network quoted Kim as saying that North Korea has “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.”

The test, North Korea’s 15th this year and the first in two months, drew swift remarks from President Trump, who said “it’s a situation we will handle.”

Graham said that “the best outcome is not to have a war,” and that Trump wants a diplomatic solution. He then added, “We’re not going to let this crazy man in North Korea have the capability to hit the homeland. We’re not going to live this way.”

“My hope is that North Korea will realize that [Trump] is serious about this. The president is not going to allow North Korea to have a nuclear weapon in their hands that can hit America. … If we have to go to war to stop this, we will,” he said.

The defense hawk made similar assertions in August and said he supported Trump's then-recent "fire and fury" rhetoric against the country.

“If we have to, we'll go to war. I don't want to, but if we have to, we'll go to war. And I'll tell you who'll win that war: We will,” Graham said in an interview with a South Carolina CBS affiliate.