Trump doesn’t rule out military strike but says it is ‘not our first choice’ after call with China

Donald Trump has said that the United States will not tolerate the actions of North Korea, but said military action was not his “first choice” after a call with President Xi Jinping of China.

A month of escalating belligerence from North Korea reached a new peak over the weekend as the isolated country tested a massive nuclear weapon, showcasing its military capabilities after a series of missile tests that have rattled Asia and confronted the Trump administration with a geopolitical standoff with the highest possible stakes.

After the call, Mr Trump – who has repeatedly pressured China to do more to deal with thier isolated neighbour – said that he and Mr Xi had a “very, very frank and very strong phone call”.

“President Xi would like to do something. We’ll see whether or not he can do it. But we will not be putting up with what’s happening in North Korea,” Mr Trump said from the White House.

According to a statement from China’s foreign ministry, Mr Xi urged a “peaceful solution” and said China saw its role as “safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation”.

The call came as a draft UN resolution put together by the US to punish North Korea for the latest missile test was leaked. It calls for the UN Security Council to impose an oil embargo on North Korea, ban the country’s exports of textiles, ban the hiring of North Korean workers abroad and place the head of the North Korean regime, Kim Jong-un, under an asset freeze and travel ban.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has said she wants the 15-member council to vote on Monday on the draft resolution to impose new sanctions over North Korea’s sixth and largest nuclear test. However, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia has said a Monday vote may be “a little premature.”

It was not immediately clear if the draft resolution had the support of North Korean ally China, while Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on Wednesday that resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis was impossible with sanctions and pressure alone.

China has not always seen eye-to-eye with the United States on how to handle Pyongyang and the regime led by Kim Jong-un. China has consistently called for diplomacy rather than risk a renewed outbreak of conflict on the Korean Peninsula that could approach its border.

As North Korea has flexed its muscles with a series of missile tests, Mr Trump and his surrogates have consistently…

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