Trump Administration Not Yet Giving Up on Diplomacy with North Korea

Rodong Sinmun/North Korean State Media

President Trump and members of his cabinet say they have not abandoned diplomacy to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program after the rogue regime conducted its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile test.

Trump has expressed growing irritation with China for not doing more to rein in its ally, but at the G20 summit on Thursday he said he was not giving up on Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Asked by a reporter if he had given up on Xi, Trump responded, “Never give up.”

Trump is expected to meet with Xi during the two-day economic summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Ahead of the prospective meeting, Trump suggested via Twitter that he had lost hope that China would help resolve the issue after he had floated better economic deals in exchange for cooperation with North Korea.

Defense Secretary James Mattis also made it clear earlier in the day that the United States was pursuing diplomacy on North Korea.

“The president’s been very clear, and secretary of state’s been very clear that we are leading with diplomatic and economic efforts,” he said.

“We stand ready to provide options if they are necessary. But this is a purely diplomatically led, with economic sanctions and buttressed by the military position that we’re taking right now, diplomatically led,” he said.

Asked whether North Korea’s ICBM test had crossed a red line for Trump, Mattis said, “We don’t set red lines, we deal with reality.”

He referenced the U.S.’s plan to introduce a new United Nations Security Council resolution that would tighten sanctions on North Korea.

“As Churchill put it, better to jaw-jaw than war-war. We stay right now dealing with this very serious escalation, this provocation, this affront to the United Nations Security Council resolutions,” he said.