Panetta: Trump 'should focus on tightening the noose around North Korea'

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto" Wednesday that President Trump should "lower the volume of rhetoric" between him and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

"There’s no easy military solution here," Panetta told Cavuto. "Any military solution involves a serious risk that hundreds of thousands of lives would be lost ... and perhaps a nuclear war would break out on the [Korean] peninsula and in the world.

"So, I think the key right now is to lower the volume of rhetoric going back and forth and focus on tightening the noose around North Korea," Panetta added, "building up our military presence there; building up the security of South Korea, Japan and others; developing a strong missile shield that can protect us from any use of missiles and also tightening these sanctions."

Panetta added that the president should carefully consider whether to visit the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea when he visits the region next month.

"You know, this situation is tense enough and that tension doesn’t need to be heightened," said Panetta, who also served as CIA director under Barack Obama and White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton.

"But every president save Ronald Reagan has [visited the DMZ], so what would be the big deal if he did?" asked Cavuto, to which Panetta responded, "Well, past presidents have done this, but you’ll admit that most of them have done it when the tensions have not been as high as they are today."

"So, I’m just asking the president [to] take your time, talk to the key people, get their advice before you decide to do it."