North Korean nukes 'existential threat' to US: intel chief

North Korea's nuclear program poses a potential "existential threat" to the United States, US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Tuesday.

"The decision time is becoming ever closer in terms of how we respond to this," Coats said in remarks to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"Our goal is a peaceful settlement," he added. "We're using maximum pressure on North Korea in various ways."

Asked about Pyongyang's nuclear program, Coats said "this is an existential threat, potentially to the United States, but also to North Korea."

North Korean leader "Kim Jong Un views this as -- any kind of a kinetic attack or effort to force him to give up his nuclear weapons -- is an existential threat to his nation and to his leadership in particular," Coats said.

"The provocative nature and the instability that Kim has demonstrated potentially is a significant threat to the United States," he said.

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US, S. Korea united as inter-Korea talks occur: Pence
Washington (AFP) Feb 10, 2018
The US and South Korea stand united against North Korea's nuclear program, even as the two Koreas hold talks in conjunction with the Winter Olympics, US Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday. Analysts say the North's Olympic diplomatic drive seeks to loosen international sanctions against it and undermine the alliance between Seoul and Washington. Pence, speaking to reporters abord Air Force Two after attending the opening ceremony of the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, said that he and Pre ... read more

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