Retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO supreme allied commander, in an interview on Sunday said North Korea is likely receiving outside help from allies like China, Russia or Iran as it races to develop its weapons arsenal.
“You’ve got to think that at least part of it is coming from either China or Russia and I have no evidence of that, but the idea that [North Korean leader Kim Jong Un] would simply be developing this on an indigenous basis within his own population of scientists simply seems unlikely given how fast it's moving," Stavridis told radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York.
"It could also be cooperation between Iran and North Korea, which we do know has occurred in this nuclear space" Stavridis continued. He added that, "it's fair to say there is some level of outside engagement that has been helpful to [Kim's] program."
Stavridis said China will have to decide whether it is going to stand by or stand up against North Korea as tensions escalate.
"China is going to have to make a choice about whether or not it will continue to align with North Korea or if they will stand with the rest of the global community and stop this. And the best tool they have, John, is they have control over oil going to North Korea. They could stop that economy in a heartbeat. We're going to need to put more pressure on them," he said, adding that "there's about a 10 percent chance" of a war.
Stavridis added that the North Korean weapons advances come at a time when President Trump has repeatedly undermined Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Trump-era ban on travel to North Korea extended Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE.
"Every time Secretary Tillerson tries to talk about diplomacy in North Korea, for example, he faces a tweet from his boss, the President, saying, ‘We are not going to use diplomacy to solve this. Diplomacy is a waste of time.’ ”