Donald Trump is not ruling out military action against North Korea

Posted May 06, 2017

US President Donald Trump offered some backhanded praise for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, calling him "a pretty smart cookie" in a television interview that aired yesterday.

In a taped interview broadcast Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation, " the president would not discuss the possibility of military action, saying: "It is a chess game". "He's dealing with obviously very tough people", Trump said.

President Donald Trump says he believes China's president has been putting pressure on North Korea as it pursues its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

An embassy official said Mike Pompeo and his wife were in the South Korean capital on Monday, but would not say for how long.

On Saturday, a North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch, the third test-fire flop this month but a clear message of defiance. The program's repeated failures over the past few years have given rise to suspicions of US sabotage.

Trump cast the launch as a direct snub of China, one of North Korea's only allies and a nation seen by the Trump administration as a potential United States ally in efforts to stamp out Pyongyang's nuclear program.

A contentious US anti-missile system based in southeastern South Korea can now defend against North Korean missiles, a South Korean official said Tuesday.

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That means, he said, working with partners in the region and globally on enforcing current United Nations sanctions and perhaps "ratcheting up those sanctions even further".

Trump sent the USS Carl Vinson toward the region, and the USA and South Korea also started installing a missile defense system that is supposed to be partially operational within days.

Residents in the village of Seongj, where the missile defense system is being installed, scuffled with police on Sunday. What we prefer to do his work with others, China included, to resolve this situation short of military action, he said in response to a question.

In a show of force, the United States is sending the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group to waters off the Korean peninsula, where it will join the USS Michigan, a nuclear submarine that docked in South Korea on Tuesday.

Trump did not say what conditions would need to be met for any such meeting to occur or when it could happen, but the White House said later North Korea would need to meet many conditions before a meeting could be contemplated.

On Sunday, McMaster called his South Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan-jin, and "the two reconfirmed what has already been agreed" about the system's costs, Kim's office said in a statement.