War with North Korea is possible as that country continues its nuclear arms and long-range missile programs, President Donald Trump said Thursday.
“Military action would certainly be an option. Is it inevitable? Nothing is inevitable,” Trump said during a joint press conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart. “But it’s something certainly that could happen.”
The commander in chief said “it would be great if something else could be worked out.” And he later signaled a willingness to “negotiate with someone” — though he did not specify if he is open to his administration having direct talks with Pyongyang or ones involving other countries.
Yet, at another point he criticized each president for 25 years — a span that includes the administrations of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — for talking with the North only to see the Hermit Kingdom continue work on its atomic and missile initiatives.
“I would prefer not going the route of the military, but it’s something certainly that could happen,” Trump said.
He then warned North Korea by saying the U.S. military “has never been stronger” — even though as a candidate he said it was a force weakened by unwise wars as well as budgetary neglect by the Obama administration and Congress.
“Each day, new equipment is is delivered. New and beautiful equipment,” Trump said. “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,” he warned.
Trump went further in threatening war on Thursday than he did four days prior.
After Trump called an emergency “small group” meeting with some of his national security officials on Sunday at the White House, Defense Secretary James Mattis emerged with a warning.
Washington has “many military options” to address the North Korea situation, the retired Marine Corps four-star general said, noting Trump called the meeting solely to be refreshed on those options.
“We made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, South Korea and Japan, from any attack,” Mattis said of the U.S. military. “We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea,’ Mattis said, flanked by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford. “As I said, we have many options to do so.”