CIA chief Mike Pompeo says 'don't ask me about it' if North Korea's Kim Jong-un dies

'Someone might think there was a coincidence,' says Mike Pompeo. 'You know, there was an accident. It’s just not fruitful'

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Sunday 22 October 2017 10:51 BST
CIA Chief Mike Pompeo says threat of North Korea

If North Korea's Kim Jong-un suddenly vanished or died, the CIA would keep quiet, its director has claimed.

Mike Pompeo told security officials at a Washington conference that the spy agency would not say anything publicly were something to happen to the communist despot.

"With respect, if Kim Jong-un should vanish, given the history of the CIA, I’m just not going to talk about it," he told the Foundation for Defence of Democracies forum.

"Someone might think there was a coincidence. ‘You know, there was an accident.’ It’s just not fruitful."

His comments were originaly reporrted in the South China Morning Post.

Mr Pompeo was referring to the US agency's history of involvement in plots to overthrow leaders in countries including Iran, Congo and Chile.

It comes months after North Korea claimed the CIA had tried to assassinate Mr Kim with the help of South Korean intelligence agencies.

It did not provide any evidence to back up its claim.

Mr Pompeo did warn however that North Korea is just months away from perfecting its nuclear capabilities and said Donald Trump was prepared to use military force against the pariah state if necessary.

"They are close enough now in their capabilities that from a US policy perspective we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving their objective of being able to strike the US," he said.

But he insisted there was a difference between having the ability to fire a single nuclear missile and the ability to develop an arsenal of such weapons.

Speaking at the same event, US National Security Adviser HR McMaster said: "We are in a race to resolve this short of military action."

He added: “We are not out of time, but we are running out of time."

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