Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said: “North Korea will get deliverable nuclear weapons. That’s the point we are at. This is coming very soon unless we take action.
“I think the fact that Secretary Tillerson is still talking about the possibility of negotiation with North Korea undermines the signal of strength that we are trying to show.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US was “open” to holding diplomatic talks with Pyongyang to defuse the tension fueling fears of World War 3.
He said: “It may sound paradoxical but the slim chance that North Korea will do anything to denuclearise or that China will force them to denuclearise increases to the extent they think the military threat is real.
“If they think the US military threat is just more rhetoric like the last several administrations, they are going to disregard it.”
North Korea’s foreign ministry has issued a furious statement this weekend, saying American aggression “cannot be tolerated”.
The fiery statement, which was issued in a Pyongyang-based propaganda newspaper yesterday, said Mr Trump was “terrified” of North Korea’s nuclear progress.
The statement said: “The gang of Trump, being terrified by our accomplishment of the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, is driving the situation on the Korean peninsula more and more close to the brink of war, acting recklessly without any sense of reason.
North Korea mocked Mr Trump as an “old lunatic” who spouts a “loud of rubbish” in a bizarre rant against the USA.
The opinion piece in Minju Chosen, one of North Korea’s several propaganda rags, told Mr Trump to temper his policy with the hermit state.
It said: “Frightened by the DPRK’s successful test-fire of ICBM Hwasong-15, old lunatic Trump talked about ‘way of serious approach’. They had better cool their heads heated by war hysteria and be prudent if they don’t want to meet bitterer disgrace and destruction.”
Despite expected economic difficulties, it remains to be seen whether North Korea will reverse its position clinging to nuclear weapons development, according to the think tank, which is the research arm of the Seoul’s National Intelligence Service.
It said: “North Korea may put further focus on building the economy while holding on to its policy line of becoming the most powerful nuclear state.”
INSS chiefs expect North Korea to use South Korea’s hosting of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics as an opportunity to offer dialogue with Seoul.
On whether the North would join the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea, the INSS said: “All the steps for participation have been completed except for Kim Jong-un’s final decision.”