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Trump: ‘Major Conflict With North Korea’ Absolutely Possible

President Donald Trump said Thursday that “major” conflict with North Korea is “absolutely” possible, but he hopes to resolve the situation peacefully and diplomatically.

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump told Reuters at the White House. “We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult.”

The administration intends to curb Pyongyang’s aggressive ambitions through tougher economic sanctions and increased cooperation with China and U.S. allies in the region. Trump does not, however, intend to take the military option off the table. The aim appears to be maximum pressure with force as a last resort.

China has already restricted coal imports from North Korea, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reports that China has specifically instructed North Korea not to conduct a sixth nuclear test.

Trump speaks highly of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who he has spoken with several times since he took office.

“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,” the president said, “I really feel that he is doing everything in his power to help us with a big situation.”

Speaking of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Trump explained, “I hope he’s rational.”

North Korea has launched at least eight confirmed missiles since Trump entered the White House, and Pyongyang’s rhetoric has become increasingly hostile.

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