Trump Tweets During a North Korean Nuclear Crisis Would be a ‘Disaster,’ Says Ex-CIA Director

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The intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 is seen during its test in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, July 5 2017. KCNA/via Reuters

The U.S. is headed toward the real possibility of a nuclear crisis with North Korea and President Donald Trump’s tweeting could make it worse, according to former CIA Director James Woolsey.

“We're headed, I'm afraid, toward the real possibility of a nuclear crisis,” Woolsey said, during an appearance on CNN Wednesday.

"It is also going to be a real disaster if the White House uses Twitter in the middle of a nuclear crisis,” he added. Woolsey also said that U.S. efforts to "buy off" North Korea with concessions under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama had failed.

Woolsey headed America’s top spy agency from 1993 to 1995 under President Bill Clinton.

On Wednesday, President Trump called out China for not using its influence to quell the threat from North Korea after Pyongyang claimed to have test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Tuesday that could reach Alaska.

“So much for China working with us,” Trump tweeted, adding that “trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40 percent in the first quarter” of 2017.

In April, during Trump’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, the president received assurances from Xi that China would do more to contain the North Korean threat.

Addressing North Korea's missile test news during a news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda Thursday, Trump said, “It's a shame they're behaving this way—they're behaving in a very, very dangerous manner and something will have to be done about it.” Trump stopped in Poland on his way to the G20 summit in Germany.

Read more: U.S. could use military force against North Korea, Nikki Haley warns

“I have some pretty severe things that we are thinking about,” Trump said when asked if he would mount a military response against North Korea. “That doesn't mean we are going to do it. I don't draw red lines,” the president said.

Using military force against North Korea is a real possibility, according to U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. North Korea is “quickly closing off the possibility of diplomatic solutions” she said to the U.N. Wednesday. “One of our capabilities lies with our considerable military forces. We will use them, if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction.”

Woolsey is not alone in fearing the impact of the president’s tweeting. Veteran North Korea negotiator, and former Governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, also criticized Trump's Twitter habits during an appearance on BBC Newsnight Thursday.

“I don't like him saying that he wants to meet Kim Jong Un and that that 'would be an honor,'” he said. Richardson also said a military response would be the wrong route to take. “I think diplomacy is the only option. There is no sound military option. And I think Kim Jong Un wants to provoke the international community,” Richardson said. “We shouldn’t let him get away with that.”

He suggested Trump work on “a coherent policy with his military advisers, with our allies. Bring it up at the G20. Get Russia's help. Try something new.”  

Woolsey also said international co-operation was key, but highlighted China as a key partner. He told CNN, “What you have to have is a deal with China that gets China working with you and puts real pressure on North Korea, particularly financial pressure,” he said. “You can’t really trust a deal with the North Koreans at all.”