Dan Coats, the American Director of National Intelligence, warned the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that the risk of a global level conflict is higher today that it has been in decades, with a particular focus on the threats presented by North Korea, Iran, and terrorism, but compounded by the actions of “malign actors” like Russia and China.

The risk of interstate conflict, including among great powers, is higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War,” Coats said. “The most immediate threats of regional interstate conflict in the next year come from North Korea and from Saudi-Iranian use of proxies in their rivalry,” he said. “At the same time, the threat of state and non-state use of weapons of mass destruction will continue to grow.”

North Korea, in particular, represents what Coats referred to as “a potentially existential threat” to the United States. According to the Intelligence Chief, more nuclear testing can be expected within the next year, regardless of seemingly warming relations with their neighbor and U.S. ally, South Korea.

Decision time is becoming ever closer in terms of how we respond to this,” Coats said. “Our goal is a peaceful settlement. We are using maximum pressure on North Korea in various ways.”