Confrontation with North Korea not imminent

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with scientists and technicians following launch of intercontinental ballistic missile. Trump said the US military was "locked and loaded" and ready to respond to any attack on its territories.

North Korea emphasized that Pyongyang should be treated with the respect it deserves for being a nuclear power: "The US carried out a long list of injustices against North Korea while presenting itself as the "only superpower" in the world".

CIA Director Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY'-oh) says North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un (kim jawng oon), is "rational" despite the behavior he's shown during escalating tensions with the United States.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says he's aiming to further develop a working relationship with his counterpart in China in order to lessen the risk of miscalculation on the Korean Peninsula as tensions rise between the USA and North Korea.

"We're not closer to war than a week ago but we are closer to war than we were a decade ago", Mr McMaster said, adding that the Trump administration is prepared to deal militarily with North Korea if necessary.

Pompeo said "there's nothing imminent today", in response to a question about how anxious should people be over the escalating tensions.

"The President has enabled the intelligence community and the Department of Defence, to be sure, that we're protecting America from this threat", Pompeo said.

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Gen Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters travelling with him that he aims to "sense what the temperature is in the region".

China's president, Xi Jinping, made a plea for cool-headedness in a phone conversation with Trump on Saturday, urging both sides to avoid words or actions that could worsen the situation.

Kim also urged the United States to "show through actions if they wish to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and prevent a risky military clash", according to the KCNA report.

The White House said the two "agreed North Korea must stop its provocative and escalatory behaviour". The North Korean People's Army pushed back saying preparations were underway to launch a missile over Japan to land near the USA territory of Guam.

But he rejected talk of the USA being on the "cusp of nuclear war".

In a separate interview on ABC News, Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, struck a similar tone.


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