Published: Wed, January 31, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

North Korea accuses White House of seeking 'confrontation' at Olympics

North Korea accuses White House of seeking 'confrontation' at Olympics

President Donald Trump warned North Korea's "reckless pursuit" of nuclear weapons could "soon threaten" the USA mainland during his first State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.

Liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in sees the games as an opportunity to resume meaningful contact with the North following an extended period of tension and diplomatic stalemate over its nuclear weapons and missiles program.

The president said the United States was applying "maximum pressure" to prevent any such attack.

Victor Cha, a former White House official who had been the Trump administration's choice to be the next USA ambassador to South Korea, is no longer being considered for the post, us officials said on Tuesday.

The US was condemned as an "arch criminal" and "harasser of peace" - while Kim's hermit kingdom was praised as a "responsible nuclear power".

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"We can watch very focused efforts to steal American information, to infiltrate the United States with spies, with people who are going to work on behalf of the Chinese government against America", he said. Trump has also repeatedly said that past administrations bungled each time they engaged North Korea and failed to stop the country's nuclear development.

Kim has developed new techniques of getting a missile to a launchpad, so the United States and its allies might now only get about 12 minutes' warning before North Korea launched a missile, down from up to an hour previously, Selva added.

On Wednesday, North Korea is scheduled to host a group of skiers from the South in a unified training session.

Pyongyang's decision on the scheduled event on Mount Kumgang during the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, was announced late on Monday, the South Korean Unification Ministry said on Tuesday.

"There's no clear response from the US yet", the official added.

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For example, it is highly unlikely North Korea could test a re-entry vehicle in one of its underground test sites, Selva said, meaning such a test would nearly certainly take place in open air where the United States could observe it.

North Korean state media in recent days has been increasing its anti-US rhetoric, warning of grave consequences if postponed joint military exercises resume after the Olympics.

Such talk is misguided, said Victor Cha, a Korea analyst at the senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies whom the Trump administration considered for the ambassador post to North Korea.

Cha declined to comment to the Post on that issue, and didn't respond to calls and text messages on Tuesday night.

The CIA chief also acknowledged that a military strike against North Korea could dramatically escalate the situation and cause massive loss of life in the region, including in US-allied Japan and South Korea.

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McCabe was acting Federal Bureau of Investigation director at the time , filling in for James Comey, whom Trump had fired in May 2017.

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