Trump leaves door open for military action against North Korea

"People are saying, 'Is he sane?' I have no idea", the President said, before noting Kim Jong Un's rise to power at a young age. And he was able to do it. "And I can tell you also, I don't believe that the President of China, who is a very respected man, will be happy either", said Trump, who this weekend completed 100 days in office.

Trump's nearly admiring remarks came amid soaring tensions with North Korea over its missile and nuclear programmes, with an alarmed Washington looking to China for help in reining in Kim. A North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed shortly after launch Saturday, South Korea and the United States said, the third test-fire flop just this month but a clear message of defiance as a US supercarrier conducts drills in nearby waters.

Fears are growing in the White House that Pyongyang is close to developing nuclear warheads capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

North Korea meanwhile said it has conducted its biggest ever artillery drill and threatened to "bury at sea" the U.S. aircraft carrier.

But asked about the possibility of a USA strike, he would not be drawn saying it was a "chess game" which he hoped could be resolved without military action.

It came just hours after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed the UN Security Council for the first time, called for a global campaign of pressure on Pyongyang - with China playing a major role - to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

He was reacting after a North Korean mid-range ballistic missile apparently failed, the third flop in a month.

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'It may mean ratcheting up those sanctions even further and it also means being prepared for military operations if necessary, ' McMaster said. He added: "It is a chess game". "The time has come for all of us to put new pressure on North Korea to abandon its risky path". So eventually, he will have a better delivery system. "Absolutely", Trump said. "We'd love to solve things diplomatically, but it's very hard".

Japanese media said the destroyer is set to escort the United States supply ship in the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo later on Monday in the first such operation since it passed controversial security laws allowing Japan's military a greater role in overseas activity.

TRUMP: I don't know.

North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!

"I don't see this happening anytime soon".

The US has already sent the USS Vinson, an aircraft carrier, and the USS Michigan, one of the world's largest submarines, to the waters surrounding North Korea in a show of stealth.

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