UPDATED 5:04 :18 :26 :38 PM EST (See Bottom) -- Senator Lindsay Graham has now publicly told the Pentagon to begin moving the Dependents of US Troops (Spouses and Children) OUT o South Korea because "War with North Korea is getting close."
The is a developing story, please check back for updates.
Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he will also urge the Pentagon not to send any more dependents to South Korea.
"It's crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea. South Korea should be an unaccompanied tour," the South Carolina Republican said on CBS' "Face the Nation." ''So, I want them to stop sending dependents, and I think it's now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea."
About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea to deter potential aggression from the North.
Last week, North Korea shattered 2½ months of relative quiet by firing off an intercontinental ballistic missile that some observers say showed the reclusive country's ability to strike the U.S. East Coast. It was North Korea's most powerful weapons test yet.
The launch was a message of defiance to President Donald Trump's administration, which a week earlier had restored North Korea to a U.S. list of terror sponsors. It also hurt nascent diplomatic efforts and raised fears of a pre-emptive U.S. strike. Threats traded by Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have further stoked fears of war.
Graham expressed confidence in the Trump administration's ability to manage the growing conflict with North Korea.
"He's got the best national security team of anybody I have seen since I have been in Washington," said Graham, who has served in Congress since 1995.
The Trump administration has vowed to deny North Korea the capability of striking the U.S. homeland with a nuclear-tipped missile.
"Denial means pre-emptive war as a last resort. The pre-emption is becoming more likely as their technology matures," Graham told CBS. "I think we're really running out of time. The Chinese are trying, but ineffectively. If there's another underground nuclear test, then you need to get ready for a very serious response by the United States."
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. China is North Korea's only significant ally, but it has grown increasingly frustrated over the North's nuclear and missile tests that have brought a threat of war and chaos to China's northeastern border.
Planned military drills between South Korean and US forces will 'precipitate their self-destruction', North Korea says, the day before the exercises begin.
South Korea is a key US ally in the region and relies on US military assistance for security against the North. Troops from the two countries routinely train together, each time prompting outbursts from Pyongyang.
Monday's Vigilant Ace exercises, due to last five days, will involve more than 230 warplanes and 12,000 soldiers.
A spokesman for North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country said in the statement on Sunday that the goal of the training is to 'totally destroy' North Korea, according to comments carried by North Korean state news agency KCNA.
'The US and south Korean puppet military warmongers should bear in mind that their escalating provocation and adding to crimes will only invite more terrible retaliation and precipitate their self-destruction,' read the statement.
The warning comes a day after North Korea's foreign ministry warned that the US government is 'begging' for a nuclear war.
Last week, North Korea launched a missile it claimed was capable of reaching the entire US mainland, raising new fears about the country's nuclear arsenal and prompting the island US state of Hawaii to sound its nuclear attack sirens for the first time since the Cold War.
U.S. President Donald Trump will "take care of" the growing nuclear threat from North Korea by taking unilateral action if necessary, his national security adviser said Sunday.
H.R. McMaster made the remark on "Fox News Sunday" after North Korea launched what appeared to be its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile last week.
"The president is going to take care of it by, if we have to, doing more ourselves," he said. "But what we want to do is convince others it is in their interest to do more."
Trump remarked after Tuesday's launch that "it is a situation that we will handle" and that "we will take care of it."
The pentagon is considering deploying THAAD to the west coast amid North Korea ICBM test
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER & FACEBOOKFollow @realhalturner
FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK