During an exclusive interview on FOX News’ Sunday Morning Futures, President Donald Trump told host Maria Bartiromo that the United States is “totally prepared” for a war with North Korea, fresh on the back of further provocations coming from Pyongyang.
While Trump was quick to emphasize his “exceptional relationship” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he did not hesitate to send a clear message to China’s ally in the North of the Korean Peninsula.
“We’re so prepared like you wouldn’t believe. You would be shocked to see how totally prepared we are if we need to be.”
However, Trump managed to clarify that the option of a war with North Korea was not a favorable one, while at the same time saying that he doesn’t know what the future holds at this stage.
“Would it be nice not to do that? The answer is yes. Will that happen? Who knows.”
Ms. Bartiromo continued to probe Trump for details about the U.S. foreign policy towards China, perhaps America’s most significant economic and military rival. Trump took the opportunity to praise President Jinping for imposing sanctions on North Korea, despite their allyship. “He’s for China. And I’m for the US,” Trump said of Jinping. “China is big stuff,” Trump added. “[President Jinping] has got the power to do something very significant with respect to North Korea.”
Trump and Jinping have been engaging in frequent talks over the past few months to discuss diplomatic approaches to curb persistent threats of war from North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. President Jinping has repeatedly urged Trump to choose a peaceful route in dealing with Jong-un’s provocations. However, Trump has not always been able to exercise restraint in responding to the North Korean dictator, often using his private Twitter account to launch verbal threats of retaliation.
China’s Foreign Ministry recently issued a statement in which it clarified the wishes of President Jinping. “Concerned parties must exercise restraint and avoid remarks and actions that escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula,” it cited Mr. Jinping as saying.
Xi Jinping was particularly perturbed by President Trump’s array of threats, including that the U.S. is “locked and loaded” for war, and that North Korea would be faced with “fire and fury” if it continues its nuclear missile tests. Despite their differences, both Chinese and U.S. authorities have confirmed that the two presidents have an “extremely close” relationship, a sentiment echoed by Trump.
“But we do have a very good — I would say an exceptional relationship. And China’s really helping us. With respect to North Korea.”
For months – almost since the start of his presidency – Trump has been engaged in a war of words with Kim Jong-un. Both leaders are at loggerheads over North Korea’s maturing nuclear weapons program, which the United States and its allies are trying to halt.
Despite widespread sanctions and diplomatic efforts to force North Korea into denuclearizing their military, Jong-un has continued to approve nuclear missile tests. Moreover, following each missile launch, Jong-un is quick to claim that the nuclear-warhead-tipped rockets are capable of hitting targets in the U.S.
During a recent speech at the United Nations, Donald Trump made a threat to destroy North Korea in order to protect his country and its allies.
Elsewhere, United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced that he would soon be heading to a meeting with various other defense ministers who are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the Philippines.
“I will talk with my counterparts, discussing the regional security crisis caused by the reckless DPRK North Korea provocations but also discuss our respect for shared values like the sovereignty of the states, their territorial integrity, freedom of navigation through historically international waters, and fair and reciprocal trade.”
Meanwhile, in a show of intimidation against Pyongyang, the United States has been conducting a series of military drills, joined by South Korean forces, in the waters and skies surrounding the Korean Peninsula.
The drills lasted for five days and included fighter jets, helicopters, 40 naval ships, submarines, four F-22, and F-35 fighter jets and two B-1B long-range bombers.
[Featured Image by Brynn Anderson/AP Images]