But Mr Pompeo denied that a threat of a nuclear conflict was imminent, saying: "I've heard folks talking about being on the cusp of a nuclear war".
Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday he added: "They're moving towards that [goal] at an ever-alarming rate". "We are hopeful that the leader of that country will understand them in precisely the way they are intended, to permit him a place to get where we can get the nuclear weapons off the peninsula".
He said the USA has a "pretty good idea" of North Korea's intentions, but he declined to provide specifics.More news: Olympics could open North Korea -- Rex Tilley
He said President Trump was just trying to give the country's people hope when he floated the idea on Friday that the United States would take military action after condemning Venezuelan leader Nicholas Maduro for human rights abuses and calling for him to hold "free and fair elections".
Donald Trump in particular has promised "fire and anger" at North Korea.
"This administration has made our policy very clear".
In an early-morning Twitter post, Mr. Trump used language to suggest that military forces were on the edge of action against the government of Kim Jong-un, which has demonstrated rapid progress in its nuclear program in recent months and threatened to launch missiles toward the American territory of Guam in response to the president's earlier warning.
"He responds to adverse circumstances", he said.More news: Steve Bannon is hurting Trump's agenda, Scaramucci says
As a practical matter, Mr. Trump's tweets do not necessarily indicate a specific change in military readiness or any imminent action.
Some former security and defense officials have said that Trump's rhetoric - including a threat of "fire and fury" and an assertion days later that the US military was "locked and loaded" in the face of North Korea's provocations - have made a volatile situation worse.
US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently declared the United Stated was prepared to wage a "preventive war" against North Korea if that was to be deemed necessary - although the current deployment of the US aircraft carriers does not seem to bode a military operation.
China has repeatedly called for dialogue to peacefully resolve the mounting tensions, but its proposal for North Korea to suspend its weapons programs in exchange for the United States and South Korea halting joint military drills has been ignored.
"The US military is locked and loaded every day", Mr McMaster said, repeating Mr Trump's threat.More news: Tom Cruise injured while doing a stunt for 'Mission Impossible 6'
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