Trump: Military action is not first choice for N. Korea

September 7, 2017

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) — U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that military action is not his first choice for dealing with the nuclear threat from North Korea.

He made the remark before boarding a plane to North Dakota, in response to reporters’ questions about North Korea and his phone call earlier in the day with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We had a very good phone call. It lasted for a long time,” he said. “President Xi would like to do something. We’ll see whether or not he can do it. But we will not be putting up with what’s happening in North Korea.”

On that, Trump said he believes Xi agrees with him “100 percent.”

This AP file photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Yonhap)This AP file photo shows U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Yonhap)

Pyongyang conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, claiming it successfully detonated an H-bomb that can be mounted on a long-range missile. It was preceded by two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July, leaving experts to believe it is only a matter of time before North Korean leader Kim Jong-un acquires the capability to strike the U.S. mainland with a nuclear weapon.

Trump has threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang if it continues to threaten the U.S.

Asked if he is considering military action, he replied, “We’ll see what happens. Certainly, that’s not our first choice, but we will see what happens.”

In a summary of the phone call, the White House later said Trump and Xi agreed to strengthen coordination and take further action to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

They condemned the latest “provocative and destabilizing action” and noted North Korea’s current path is “dangerous to the world and not in its own interest.”

A day earlier, Trump told British Prime Minister Theresa May in a phone call that talks with North Korea are off the table for now, the White House said in a separate statement.

“President Trump reiterated that now is not the time to talk to North Korea, and made clear that all options remain open to defend the United States and its allies against North Korean aggression,” it said.

The two leaders agreed to continue working closely together to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea, noting the latest “reckless act” only strengthens the world’s determination to confront the growing threat from the regime.

Trump also held a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

During the talks, the U.S. president “reaffirmed his commitment to defending the homeland, territories, and allies of the United States, using all available diplomatic and military capabilities,” according to another White House statement.

Both sides condemned North Korea’s belligerent actions and agreed to intensify efforts to denuclearize the country.

hague@yna.co.kr

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