Steve Bannon: "There's no military solution" to North Korea threat

Last Updated Aug 17, 2017 9:25 AM EDT

President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon said there was 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."

In a rare and wide-ranging interview with The American Prospect posted online Wednesday, Bannon said, "There's no military solution, forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul [South Korea] don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us."

Bannon also told the publication that the U.S. was losing the economic race against China and talked about purging his rivals from the Defense and State departments.

Meanwhile, the security adviser to the South Korean president, Moon Chung-in, told CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy that the United States had made things "worse" on the Korean peninsula.

"We take crisis and conflict and escalation on the Korean Peninsula damn seriously. It is a matter of life and death for us," he said. "And if there is any kind of conflict, if there is any kind of overt conflict between Pyongyang and Washington, ultimately, the collateral damage would be placed on us. And that collateral damage would be a catastrophe."

On Thursday, America's top military officer said the U.S. would not negotiate away its joint exercises with South Korea as long as the threat of an attack by North Korea existed.

"As long as the threat in North Korea exists we need to maintain a high state of readiness to respond to that threat," Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters.

North Korea claimed the annual drills, scheduled for later this month, were a prelude for an invasion, while Washington and Seoul held that the exercises were defensive in nature and crucial to deterring North Korean aggression.