US national security adviser says 'be prepared for military action against North Korea'

Reclusive state acting in 'open defiance of the international community', says Lieutenant General

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The Independent US

America's National Security Adviser has said America should be “prepared” to take military action against North Korea.

Lieutenant General HR McMaster called on other world powers to prevent the rebellious regime from developing a nuclear arsenal, saying the state was acting in "open defiance of the international community".

Although he said the Trump administration would prefer to "work with others" to resolve the issue "short of military action", he said the US must be prepared for its armed forces to intervene.

“North Korea poses a grave threat to the United States, our great allies in the region, South Korea and Japan ... but also to China and others. And so it's important, I think, for all of us to confront this regime,” he said in an interview with Fox News.

“This regime that is pursuing the weaponisation of a missile with a nuclear weapon. And so this is something that we know we cannot tolerate ... The President has made clear that he is going to resolve this issue one way or another."

He added: “It may mean ratcheting up those sanctions even further and it also means being prepared for military operations if necessary."

President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would "not be happy" if North Korea carried out another missile test, adding that his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping would likely feel the same. 

He refused to say whether this meant military action, saying: "I don't know, I mean, we'll see." He added: “We shouldn't be announcing all our moves. It is a chess game. I just don't want people to know what my thinking is.”

Mr Trump also called the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un “a pretty smart cookie” for being able to hang onto power after taking over the isolationist state at a young age.

On Saturday, a North Korean mid-range ballistic missile appeared to fail shortly after launch, the third such failure this month.

North Korean ballistic missile tests are banned by the United Nations because they are seen as part of the North's drive to produce a nuclear-armed missile that could reach the US mainland. 

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