Washington: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that a military strike was not his first option for dealing with a nuclear-armed North Korea, but he did not rule it out completely.
Trump’s comments came during his telephonic conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to discuss the situation in the Korean Peninsula after North Korea carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date.
His latest comments were less harsh than ones he made last month where he threatened “fire and fury” against the Pyongyang regime.
The US has urged China, which is the North’s main trading partner, to put more pressure on the reclusive nation to limit his controversial missile programme.
Trump said he has had a “strong” and “frank” conversation with Xi about North Korea.
“I believe that President Xi agrees with me 100 per cent. He doesn’t want to see what’s happening there, either,” Trump told reporters.
“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,” Trump said.
Responding to another question, Trump said military option is not his first choice but he has all options open.
“We’re going to see what happens. We’ll see what happens. Certainly, that’s not our first choice, but we will see what happens,” Trump said when asked if he is considering military action.
Xi said China had been adamant in preserving international nuclear non-proliferation, maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, and resolving the nuclear issue through talks, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The Chinese president said the general direction should head toward a peaceful settlement of the issue, adding that dialogue combined with a set of comprehensive measures is best for seeking a long-term solution.
Trump said Washington has been deeply concerned over the ongoing situation on the Korean Peninsula and attaches importance to China’s essential role in resolving the issue.
He pledged to step up communication with the Chinese side in a bid to find a solution as early as possible.
Also during the talks, Xi said China attaches great importance to Trump’s visit to China later this year, hoping both sides can work together to ensure the visit a success.