President Donald Trump told CBS’ John Dickerson on “Face the Nation” on Sunday that he was not happy with North Korea’s latest missile test and hinted at a possible military strike should Kim Jong Un continue with provocations.
When asked if the pressure Trump has applied to North Korea has worked, Trump stressed the importance of his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but seemed restrained in his condemnation of North Korea’s latest missile launch.
“This was a small missile. This was not a big missile. This was not a nuclear test, which he was expected to do three days ago. We’ll see what happens,” said Trump, referring to the launch of a KN-17 ballistic missile on Friday.
Experts say North Korea has readied a nuclear test, which many suspected would take place earlier in April on the anniversary of the country’s founder’s birth or the foundation of its military. So far, no test has taken place.
“If he does a nuclear test, I will not be happy,” said Trump.
When pressed on if being “not happy” would mean military action, Trump demurred.
“I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see,” he said.
But unlike previous statements in which Trump and his top officials have touted military action as a way forward, Trump stressed his relationship with China above all other levers in the North Korean conflict on Sunday.
“The relationship I have with China, it’s been already acclaimed as being something very special, something very different than we’ve ever had. But again, you know, we’ll find out whether or not President Xi is able to affect change,” Trump said.
Trump’s pivot to China’s influence in dealing with North Korea comes after his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, signalled Friday that the US would be open to direct talks with North Korea.
Though diplomatic efforts with the Kim regime have failed in the past, experts have told Business Insider that with the increasing capability of North Korea’s nukes and mounting international pressure, they may represent the only way to avert a full crisis.
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