This is a dangerous time with the Russians, but there are many things that the US needs to cooperate with them on, including "the most vexing problem of North Korea", former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday (7 May).

She insisted that the current US administration has to press China into taking "very tough steps" against the "reckless" state, even if that meant an ultimate collapse of the Kim Jong-un regime in Pyonygang.

Rice warned that North Korean missiles and nuclear weapons are capable of reaching Russia and the way they are improving, can eventually reach the US mainland in up to five years and once that happens, the US administration will not be able to deal with it.

"A lot has happened in the last several years. This is now a different regime than even under Kim Jong-Il, the father," she said in an interview on CBS News. "Kim Jong-un is reckless, maybe even a bit unstable. He has made improvements in his nuclear capabilities that look as if he's getting closer to a deliverable nuclear weapon.

"And perhaps, I don't know what they're telling the president [Donald Trump] because I don't have the intelligence, but three, five years, the ability to reach the United States, that cannot be countenanced by any American president, I don't care who's in the White House. In order to deal with that you have to change the Chinese calculus, and I think that's what the administration's trying to do," Rice, who served as the state of secretary in the President George W Bush administration, said.

Apart from North Korea, Rice also warned against Russia, saying that the country under President Vladimir Putin has been trying to re-establish "Russian greatness". She added that the country, however, "hasn't seemed to respect certain lines in doing that".

Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice wants China to take strong steps against North Korea even if it means a collapse of the Kim Jong-un regime Reuters

Backing President Donald Trump government's decision to launch missile strikes against the Syrian regime in April, Rice said: "The strike in Syria has helped us send the signal that the United States is going to get leverage back in the Middle East.

"The strike in Syria was a good message. But we need to continue to send strong messages about Ukraine and other places that we're not going to countenance a Russia that is aggressive against allies and states that shouldn't be threatened by their neighbours."

Rice, who has recently penned a book titled Democracy: Stories From The Long Road To Freedom, said that democracy is a process that takes time. It even took its due course in America.

"One of the points that I make in the book is, took us a long time. That first American Constitution counted my ancestors as three-fifths of a man. That first American Constitution didn't provide my father the right to vote in 1952 in Birmingham, Alabama. But I took an oath of allegiance to that same constitution as a black woman secretary of state with a Jewish woman Supreme Court justice swearing me in. Democracy takes time and we have to be a little bit more patient, and a little bit more helpful in speaking out for those who are still trying to get there."