US President Donald Trump said that while a military response remains a possibility as the US develops a response to North Korea’s detonation of what Pyongyang claims was a hydrogen bomb, it would not be his first choice.
“Military action would certainly be an option. Is it inevitable? Nothing is inevitable,” he said on Thursday when a reporter raised the issue during the President’s joint press conference with the visiting Emir of Kuwait.
“I would prefer not going the route of the military,” Trump said.
“I can tell you that North Korea is behaving badly and it’s got to stop,” he said, alluding to the nuclear detonation and a series of ballistic missile launches.
China wants to restrain the government in Pyongyang, Trump said on Wednesday after a telephone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“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,” the US President said of the conversation.
Following last weekend’s nuclear test, Trump said he was considering cutting off US trade links with any country that does business with North Korea, whose main economic partner is China.
Last Sunday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said North Korea would face “a massive military response” if it were to pose any threat against the US or its allies.
“Our commitment among the allies are ironclad,” Mattis said. “Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.”
The North Korean government has spoken about plans for an attack on US military facilities in Guam.