WASHINGTON, DC — During a Thursday joint White House press conference with the Amir of Kuwait, President Donald Trump responded to a reporter’s question on North Korea’s nuclear program, stating that military action against North Korea “would certainly be an option,” but he “would prefer not going the route of the military.”
One reporter referenced lawmakers and, specifically, Sen. Lindsey Graham on the situation with North Korea, suggesting that it could be leading to war.
The reporter asked President Trump if war is inevitable and whether he would “tolerate a nuclearized North Korea that is contained and deterred but still nuclear.” The reporter further asked if military action was an option that the United States considers necessary to see a denuclearized Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“Military action would certainly be an option,” said the U.S. President, who added that “nothing is inevitable.”
President Trump continued:
It would be great if something else could be worked out. We would have to look at all of the details, all of the facts. But we’ve had Presidents for 25 years now — they’ve been talking, talking, talking — and the day after an agreement is reached, new work begins in North Korea, continuation on nuclear.
So I would prefer not going the route of the military, but it’s something certainly that could happen. Our military has never been stronger. We are in a position now — and you know the new orders. You see the new numbers just like I see the new numbers. It’s been tens of billions of dollars more in investment. And each day new equipment is delivered — new and beautiful equipment, the best in the world, the best anywhere in the world, by far.
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.
Trump has been trying for months to work with China to put economic pressure on North Korea to scale back its aggressive actions and eventually move toward a denuclearized Korean peninsula.
North Korea has been ramping up its military aggression for months and reports now indicate that the country is planning to launch a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile over the weekend.
Trump went on to say, in an exchange with a reporter, “I don’t put my negotiations on the table. Unlike past administrations, I don’t talk about them. But I can tell you that North Korea is behaving badly, and it’s got to stop.”
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.