Politics Exclusive: Trump says 'major, major' conflict with North Korea possible, but seeks diplomacy

04:31  28 april  2017
04:31  28 april  2017 Source:   Reuters

Trump to Host Unusual Meeting With UN Security Council

  Trump to Host Unusual Meeting With UN Security Council President Trump will host the UN Security Council at the White House Monday, a highly unusual meeting made even more startling because of President Trump's harsh criticism of the international institution.President Trump will host members of the United Nations Security Council at the White House Monday, a highly unusual meeting made even more startling because of his harsh criticism of the international institution during the campaign and since taking office.

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The article you requested was not found. Once opposed to intervention, Trump says he can be flexible.

U.S. President Trump looks out window of the Oval Office following an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington © REUTERS/Carlos Barria U.S. President Trump looks out window of the Oval Office following an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute.

"There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.

Nonetheless, Trump said he wanted to peacefully resolve a crisis that has bedeviled multiple U.S. presidents, a path that he and his administration are emphasizing by preparing a variety of new economic sanctions while not taking the military option off the table.

Trump to Host Unusual Meeting With UN Security Council

  Trump to Host Unusual Meeting With UN Security Council President Trump will host the UN Security Council at the White House Monday, a highly unusual meeting made even more startling because of President Trump's harsh criticism of the international institution.President Trump will host members of the United Nations Security Council at the White House Monday, a highly unusual meeting made even more startling because of his harsh criticism of the international institution during the campaign and since taking office.

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"We'd love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult," he said.

Trump lavished praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping for Chinese assistance in trying to rein in North Korea. The two leaders met in Florida earlier this month.

"I believe he is trying very hard. He certainly doesn’t want to see turmoil and death. He doesn’t want to see it. He is a good man. He is a very good man and I got to know him very well.

"With that being said, he loves China and he loves the people of China. I know he would like to be able to do something, perhaps it's possible that he can’t," Trump said.

Trump spoke just a day after he and his top national security advisers briefed U.S. lawmakers on the North Korean threat and one day before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will press the United Nations Security Council on sanctions to further isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.

Tillerson calls for new UN pressure on North Korea

  Tillerson calls for new UN pressure on North Korea <p>Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday called on the United Nations to tighten pressure on North Korea to dismantle its weapons programs, warning that a failure to do so could have "catastrophic consequences."</p>"For too long the international community has been reactive in addressing North Korea," Tillerson said at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council. "Those days must come to an end. Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences.

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The Trump administration on Wednesday declared North Korea "an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority." It said it was focusing on economic and diplomatic pressure, including Chinese cooperation in containing its defiant neighbor and ally, and remained open to negotiations.

U.S. officials said military strikes remained an option but played down the prospect, though the administration has sent an aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered submarine to the region in a show of force.

Any direct U.S. military action would run the risk of massive North Korean retaliation and huge casualties in Japan and South Korea and among U.S. forces in both countries.

Trump, asked if he considered North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to be rational, said he was operating from the assumption that he is rational. He noted that Kim had taken over his country at an early age.

Tillerson Keeping ‘All Options’ Open if Diplomacy With North Korea Fails

  Tillerson Keeping ‘All Options’ Open if Diplomacy With North Korea Fails <p>Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said on Friday that the United States was keeping “all options” on the table if diplomacy failed to persuade North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons program.</p>Speaking at the United Nations Security Council, Mr. Tillerson called for stiffer international sanctions against North Korea and threatened to impose sanctions on third parties that continued to cooperate with the country. He also demanded that the North dismantle its nuclear weapons program before talks could begin.

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"He's 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want but that is not easy, especially at that age.

"I'm not giving him credit or not giving him credit, I'm just saying that's a very hard thing to do. As to whether or not he's rational, I have no opinion on it. I hope he's rational," he said.

Trump, sipping a Coke delivered by an aide after the president ordered it by pressing a button on his desk, appeared to rebuff an overture from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who told Reuters a direct phone call with Trump could take place again after their first conversation in early December angered Beijing.

China considers neighboring Taiwan to be a renegade province.

"My problem is that I have established a very good personal relationship with President Xi," said Trump. "I really feel that he is doing everything in his power to help us with a big situation. So I wouldn’t want to be causing difficulty right now for him."

"So I would certainly want to speak to him first."

(Editing by Ross Colvin)

House votes to create new North Korea sanctions .
The House voted Thursday to impose new sanctions on North Korea amid heightened tensions. Legislation approved handily on a 419-1 vote would target North Korea's shipping industry and people who employ North Korean slave labor abroad. It would also require the Trump administration to report to Congress within 90 days on whether North Korea should be reinstated onto the government's state sponsors of terror list."ThisLegislation approved handily on a 419-1 vote would target North Korea's shipping industry and people who employ North Korean slave labor abroad.

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