President Donald Trump, when warning of a "major, major conflict" being possible with North Korea, was looking at that country's increasingly aggressive actions, deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland said Friday.
"North Korea has built a massive conventional military and army right on the South Korean border," McFarland told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" anchor Bill Hemmer.
"They're developing missiles to deliver nuclear weapons to our allies in southeast Asia but could eventually deliver one that could reach the United States."
Trump's comment, she continued, comes in conjunction with working with South Korea and Japan to increase their defenses in the area.
"We're showing North Korea we're militarily prepared and we're taking economic actions and sanctions and diplomatic pressure with the Chinese to show them we're trying those avenues as well," Mcfarland said. "Nobody wants to go to war. We want a stable North Korea. We want stability in the peninsula and we don't want nuclear weapons.
Trump told his National Security Council team, on his first day of office, that North Korea would be its most immediate crisis, McFarlands said, and could present a threat to the United States, and that former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama did not solve the problem.
However, the NSC does not believe North Korea is at the point of having intercontinental ballistic weapons that can reach the United States, McFarland said, even though it did show canisters during a military parade earlier this month that "might hold those kinds of missiles."
"We don't know what was in those canisters," McFarland said. "They might have been empty. The only way you know what country has for weapons is if they can successfully test it. The North Koreans haven't yet tested one . . . it's their objective."
Meanwhile, China does have more influence on North Korea than with any other country, and "will have the lead if trying to alter North Korea's behavior," she said.
McFarland Friday also discussed the ongoing controversy over the Iran nuclear deal, saying that it's "not at all" off the table.
"We have had a number of meetings on this in the last couple of days," McFarland said.
There are many options to take to keep Iran abiding by their side of the deal, including economic pressure.
"As President Trump said a couple of times, they aren't living up to the spirit of this deal. They're increasing their activities against the allies and Israel."
McFarland also discussed, shortly, the controversy surrounding her former boss, Gen. Michael Flynn, calling for allowing the investigation into accusations concerning his contacts with Russia to take its course.
"I respect the service he gave to the nation,"she said of the retired Army lieutenant general. "We worked together for 24 days in the administration and worked together during the transition. We met a lot of world leaders together. He was having contacts separate from that. I wasn't aware of a lot of the things he was doing."
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