The threat emerging from North Korea's rogue regime is "increasing every day", according to White House national security advisor H.R. McMaster.
"I think it's increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem", McMaster told an audience at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley.
The South Korean military has launched a special unit to "decapitate" North Korea's leadership, including the country's powerful leader Kim Jong-un, in case a war breaks out in the Korean peninsula.
The latest missile flew higher than any others previously tested, before falling into Japanese waters. A Honolulu-based newspaper said a missile launched in North Korea could reach Hawaii within 20 minutes.
Trump has said he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about Pyongyang's "provocative actions", and he vowed that additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea.
United Nations Security Council ministers will meet on December 15 to discuss North Korea's nuclear and missiles programs and the body will also meet separately this month to discuss human rights abuses in the North Asian country, an annual meeting that its ally China has tried to prevent for the past three years.
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U.S. Air Force aircraft arrived in South Korea on Saturday to participate in a joint aerial drill just a week after North Korea launched a ballistic missile.
Amid concerns about the tenuous situation that has been exacerbated by heated exchanges between US President Donald Trump and North Korean officials could lead to a military path, Bessho stressed that changing the North's policy is the point of emphasis.
"They will be the first victims if a war is started on the Korean peninsula". The United States has 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.
The ICBM Hwasong-15 type weaponry system used in Wednesday's test is an intercontinental ballistic rocket tipped with super-large heavy warhead capable of striking the whole mainland of the United States, the North said.
He responded "I don't think so" when asked whether the Mueller probe affected American allies.
But analysts remain unconvinced that it has mastered the advanced technology to allow the rocket to survive re-entry to the Earth's atmosphere.