President Trump said Thursday it would be “a very sad day for North Korea” if the United States is forced to use its military to respond to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear threats.
“I would prefer not going the route of the military, but it’s something, certainly, that could happen,” the president said during a press conference at the White House. “Our military has never been stronger.”
North Korea over the weekend conducted its most power nuclear test yet, with the regime claiming it tested a hydrogen bomb. The test triggered a new round of urgent discussions between the U.S. and allies in the region.
Boasting Thursday that the United States’ equipment is “the best in the world,” Trump said: “Hopefully, we’re not going to have to use it on North Korea. If we do use it on North Korea, it will be a very sad day for North Korea.”
The president made the comments during a joint press conference with Amir Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah of Kuwait.
“Military action would certainly be an option,” Trump said of the escalating tensions with North Korea. “Is it inevitable? Nothing is inevitable. It’d be great if something else could be worked out.”
Asked by a reporter if he’d tolerate a nuclearized North Korea that is contained and deterred, Trump declined to say: “I’m not negotiating with you.”
“I don’t put my negotiations on the table, unlike past administrations,” he said. “I don’t talk about them. But I can tell you that North Korea is behaving badly and it’s got to stop.”
On Wednesday, the president spoke with President Xi Jinping of China about North Korea’s Sept. 2 test of a “powerful nuclear device.”
Returning from the August recess, members of the House and Senate were also briefed on Capitol Hill on Wednesday about the threat from North Korea by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intellience Dan Coats.