Trump: ‘We’ll see’ if a North Korean nuclear test would trigger US response

President Trump is warning North Korea not to conduct another nuclear test, saying “we’ll see” if such a step would trigger a US military response.

Trump, in an interview aired Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” likewise said that he believes China’s President Xi Jinping, with whom he met weeks ago in Florida, has been using Beijing’s leverage to restrain North Korea’s mercurial leader, Kim Jong Un.

In the interview, Trump said neither he nor Xi would be happy if Kim were to conduct a nuclear test, which would be North Korea’s sixth. There were some expectations earlier this month that the hermit kingdom might conduct such a test in connection with patriotic holiday observances.

The test did not take place, but North Korea has continued with other actions the US and its regional allies regard as provocations, including a failed test on Saturday of a mid-range ballistic missile. Kim’s government is known to be working to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States.

Asked in the CBS interview if a North Korea nuclear test would prompt US military action, Trump answered: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.”

In 2013, North Korea’s official news service reported that Jang Song Taek, Kim’s uncle by marriage, was executed for attempting to seize power. The report called Jang “worse than a dog.”

In a separate interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was asked if Trump was considering a pre-emptive strike against North Korea, particularly if there were indications that it had developed a delivery system capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. “I don’t think so,” he said.

“I think we have to consider that option as the very last option,” said McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. He cited an array of dangers associated with any outbreak of hostilities on the Korean peninsula, including North Korea’s ability to strike Seoul with conventional artillery.

“The major lever on North Korea, maybe the only lever, is China,” he said.

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