Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats testifies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats" on Capitol Hill. February 13, 2018. Photo: Reuters/Leah Millis

US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats reportedly said Tuesday that the time for making a final a decision on Washington’s response to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs is drawing “ever closer.”

Coats made the remark during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington in which he echoed other US officials by saying the regime poses a potentially “significant” threat to the US.

“I agree with you that the decision time is becoming ever closer, in terms of how we respond to this,” Coats said in response to a question from Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID).

“Our goal is a peaceful settlement,” he added, noting the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign, which involves increasing economic and diplomatic sanctions against Pyongyang. “But we have to face the fact that this is an existential — potentially existential problem for the United States.”

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