WASHINGTON—China has begun making new efforts to restrain North Korea’s nuclear-weapons ambitions, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said Thursday while suggesting it could do more.
Mr. Pompeo, speaking during a Senate hearing on world-wide threats facing the U.S., suggested that the Trump administration had won new cooperation from China in curbing North Korea’s ambitions to field an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead that could reach the continental U.S.
“They have made efforts in a way they have not made before, in an effort to close down the trade that they have [with North Korea] and putting diplomatic pressure as well on the North Koreans,” Mr. Pompeo said. “The intelligence would suggest that we’re going to need more to shake free this terribly challenging problem, and that they could do more.”
Mr. Pompeo said significant restrictions have been placed on coal going into North Korea but declined to give additional details on what specific actions China had taken.
He also told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee that he has created a special CIA “Korea mission center” to tackle the threat from North Korea.
The former Republican congressman from Kansas said though the nuclear threat posed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had faded from the headlines of late, it hadn’t dissipated at all.
“I don’t see anything that should make us feel any better about this threat,” Mr. Pompeo said.
For years, North Korea has been working to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the U.S. with a miniaturized nuclear warhead.
So far, the country hasn’t demonstrated that capability, top U.S. intelligence leaders testified Thursday, while declining to say when they expected Pyongyang to meet that goal.
“What we’ve not seen them do, is do a complete end-to-end test with an ICBM with a nuclear device,” U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said at the hearing. “They’re going to put those two together at some point, but we have not seen them do that, test it end-to-end.”
Mr. Pompeo said he wasn’t aware of any U.S. discussions with North Korea aimed at convincing Mr. Kim to back away from his nuclear-missile program. – WSJ –