Download our news and weather apps

Trump: ‘It would be great’ if North Korea could be solved without military action

A man watches a television screen showing U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. North Korea has announced a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers. If carried out, it would be the North’s most provocative missile launch to date. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

President Donald Trump downplayed the possibility of military action against North Korea on Thursday, saying such an event is neither inevitable nor preferable.

“Military action would certainly be an option,” he said during a White House news conference, but added later: “It would be great if something else could be worked out.”

Trump said attempts at diplomacy with Pyongyang had failed over the past decades. But he insisted that military action wouldn’t be his first choice.

“I would prefer not going to the route of the military but it is certainly something that could happen,” Trump said.

A military strike would signal “a very sad day for North Korea,” he said.

Trump said Wednesday that military action is not his “first choice” to address North Korea’s ongoing moves to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, hours after he spoke by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens,” Trump said when asked if he was still considering military action. “Certainly that’s not a first choice, but we’ll see what happens.”

Trump said that he believed he and Xi are on the same page following what he described as a “very, very frank and very strong phone call.”

“We will not be putting up with what’s happening in North Korea. I believe that President Xi agrees with me 100%,” Trump said from the White House’s South Lawn as he prepared to board Marine One.