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U.S.: War With North Korea Would Be 'Horrific' But Not 'Unimaginable'

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, listens as he meets with the Chinese deputy chairman of the Central Military Commission in Beijing on August 17.

The top U.S. military officer says a military solution to the North Korean missile threat would be "horrific" but allowing Pyongyang to develop the capability to launch a nuclear attack on the United States is "unimaginable."

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, told reporters in Beijing on August 17 that President Donald Trump had "told us to develop credible viable military options and that's exactly what we're doing."

"As I've told my counterparts, both friend and foe, it is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability," Dunford said.

"What's unimaginable to me is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver, Colorado -- that's unimaginable to me. So my job will be to develop military options to make sure that doesn't happen," he said.

Dunford was responding to questions about comments that Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, made in an interview published on August 16.

Bannon was quoted as saying there's no military solution to the threat posed by North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, despite the president's recent pledge to answer further aggression with "fire and fury."

Based on reporting by AP and The Independent