President Donald Trump has warned the U.S. could face a major conflict with North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.
“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.
Trump said he wants to resolve the standoff with North Korea peacefully but argued a diplomatic solution is “very difficult.”
Administration officials have declared an end to the “strategic patience” previous presidents have shown toward North Korea and said the use of military force against the communist nation is “on the table.”
In the interview with Reuters, Trump praised the efforts of Chinese President Xi Jinping in trying to rein in North Korea.
“I believe he is trying very hard. He certainly doesn’t want to see turmoil and death. He doesn’t want to see it,” Trump said of Xi. “He is a good man. He is a very good man and I got to know him very well.”
“With that being said, he loves China and he loves the people of China,” the president added. “I know he would like to be able to do something, perhaps it’s possible that he can’t.”
Trump met with Xi at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida earlier this month and has had subsequent phone calls with his Chinese counterpart.
A White House statement on a call between Trump and Xi earlier this week said the two leaders reaffirmed the urgency of the threat posed by North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.
Trump and Xi also committed to strengthen coordination in achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the White House said.
Regarding other issues on the Korean Peninsula, Trump told Reuters he intends to renegotiate or terminate a free trade agreement with South Korea because of the deep U.S. trade deficit with the country.
Trump also said he wants South Korea to pay the estimated $1 billion cost of the THAAD missile defense system.
(Photo: Gage Skidmore)
by RTT Staff Writer
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