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U.S. senator says there’s a 30% chance of war with North Korea

Click to play video: 'Lindsay Graham: North Korea ‘running out of time’ to halt it’s nuclear weapons program' Lindsay Graham: North Korea ‘running out of time’ to halt it’s nuclear weapons program
Dec. 4: South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham appeared on the CBS News program "Face the Nation" on Sunday to discuss North Korea. Graham said the U.S. is on its way to military intervention if the country continues its nuclear proliferation – Dec 4, 2017

U.S. Republican senator Lindsey Graham says “time is running out” on the North Korean crisis.

In an interview with the Atlantic, he said the chances of “using the military option” with the Asian country is about three in 10 – and it would jump to 70 per cent if North Korea tested another nuclear weapon.

So far, North Korea has tested six nuclear weapons, and many other missiles. The latest nuclear test was on Sept. 3.

READ MORE: North Korea’s nuclear test in September still causing aftershocks, shifted Earth’s crust 

The “military option” would have to be all-out war, he explained, because it’s not clear where North Korea’s nuclear weapons are.

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“There is no surgical strike option. Their [nuclear-weapons] program is too redundant, it’s too hardened, and you gotta assume the worst, not the best. So, if you ever use the military option, it’s not to just neutralize their nuclear facilities—you gotta be willing to take the regime completely down.”

READ MORE: Why the U.S. would need ‘luck’ and North Korean insiders to secure regime’s nukes

Graham said he discussed the crisis while on the golf course with Trump over the weekend.

“We’re not to the tipping point yet,” he told the Atlantic. “If they test another [nuclear] weapon, then all bets are off.”

READ MORE: Donald Trump hits the links with Lindsey Graham, talking tax cuts and budget

The White House said one day earlier that no negotiations could be held until North Korea improved its behaviour.

For his part, Donald Trump discussed the crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone on Thursday.

The two “discussed working together to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea,” the White House said in a statement.

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Putin warned the U.S. not to use force against Pyongyang and said the countries should be co-operating to tackle the North Korean standoff.

Other world leaders are also cautioning against war; Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that the crisis over North Korea’s weapons programs must be resolved through talks.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of the danger of “sleepwalking” into conflict, and said UN Security Council resolutions should be implemented by all parties.

“The worst possible thing that could happen is for us all to sleepwalk into a war,” he said.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said after meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in London on Thursday that military options in North Korea did not look attractive and the best way forward was to intensify economic pressure.

*With files from Reuters

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