National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said an attack by North Korea does not appear imminent, and that the threat of war is no closer today than it was last week.
Pompeo also defended President Donald Trump's warning that North Korea, which has been in conflict with the United States since the start of the Korean War in 1950, would face "fire and fury" if it issued any more threats to the US, comments that were widely criticized last week as overheated and interpreted by some as threatening a preemptive nuclear attack. "But each time they test another missile, or if they should conduct a nuclear weapons test, they develop expertise, they expand the envelope, and so it is probably fair to say they are moving toward that at an ever-alarming rate".
"This administration has made our policy very clear".
But he stressed the U.S. is pursuing "a very determined diplomatic effort" led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that is coupled with new financial sanctions to dissuade North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from further provocations.
USA intelligence does not indicate an imminent nuclear war with North Korea, the chief of the Central Intelligence Agency said Sunday, after a week of bellicose rhetoric between the two sides.
This weekend, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel urged the United States and South Korea to make their planned joint military exercise "as unprovocative as possible".
"The country may be hit by serious food shortages that affect ordinary people", Ri warned, while noting that "there is no guarantee that Mr. Kim Jong Un will change his mind through seeing people suffer".
North Korea's military has reacted angrily by stating its preparedness to "contain" the USA bases on the Pacific island of Guam with missile strikes.
North Korea's latest missile test was its 13 (and tenth successful one) since US President Donald Trump assumed office in January. They have already done two in July, has also advanced Mike Pompeo, in reference to the two test-firing of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) carried out by the regime in July.
He said he doesn't think the U.S.is closer to war than a week ago, but closer to war than a decade ago.
North Korea, for its part, threatened to shoot four missiles towards the island of Guam, a strategic outpost of the u.s. forces in the Pacific, where are stationed about 6,000 american soldiers.
In an interview with German newspaper group RND, Gabriel said the manoeuvres "could lead to North Korea using the opportunity for renewed provocation, for example, by firing an intermediate-range missile at Guam".
In response, Mr Trump said North Korea should expect "big, big trouble" if anything happened to Guam.