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President Donald Trump on Friday said he couldn’t have “a nuclear war” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“I can, and I will, but I can’t do that,” Trump said at a news conference.
“I have to get along with the Kim Jong-un regime and I have to have peace with that country, which is why I can have no nuclear war.”
And I think it would be very difficult, I really do,” Trump added.
In his first foreign policy speech since taking office, Trump sought to cast his new administration as a “peace” administration.
Trump’s comments come as North Korea continues to test ballistic missiles and launches more rockets, the latest of which exploded Friday near Japan’s southern island of Hokkaido.
The latest launch, which Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb, came two days after a fourth missile flew over Japan.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry, which issued a statement Friday, called Trump’s remarks a “delusional attempt to use an unstable situation in the Korean Peninsula for his personal purposes.”
It said that the North “categorically rejects” the U.S. stance that it would take action against North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Nam.
North Korea said the fourth test was a “huge provocation.”
Trump told reporters Friday that “it’s a terrible situation” in the Pacific.”
It’s a situation you can fix by diplomacy.””
But the fact is, it’s not a situation that you can solve by threatening or by using force.
It’s a situation you can fix by diplomacy.”
Trump has been calling for a diplomatic solution to the crisis with North KOREA, which has continued to build its nuclear and missile capabilities.
But Trump has been criticized for not directly threatening North Korea and for not using the nuclear option.
Trump has called for a “massive” response from the United States to stop the North Korean threat, but the White House has been hesitant to give specifics on what would be done, citing the ongoing military standoff with North Koreas neighbors.
“The administration has been very cautious on the issue of using military force,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Thursday.
“What we do know is we have to do something and that’s what we’ve been pursuing.”
The North Korea crisis has also been a source of tension with China, the North’s sole major ally.
Beijing has been reluctant to back Trump and other leaders in calling for tougher sanctions on Pyongyang.
A senior Chinese official told reporters this week that the country “has no intention” of imposing additional sanctions.
A diplomatic effort to resolve the crisis is underway, with the United Nations working to draft a deal that could include the North and China.
The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to hold a special session later this week.