President Trump on Wednesday spoke with President Xi Jinping of China about the “denuke of North Korea” as lawmakers in Washington received classified briefings on the threat.
“We had a very good conversation with President Xi of China,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. “It lasted for about 45 minutes. He’s very much in favor of the denuke of North Korea.”
The White House said Trump and Xi discussed North Korea’s Sept. 2 test of a “powerful nuclear device.”
“The two leaders condemned North Korea’s latest provocative and destabilizing action and noted North Korea’s current path is dangerous to the world and not in its own interest,” Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said. “President Trump and President Xi committed to strengthen coordination and take further action with the goal of achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
China’s state news agency said Xi expressed China’s adamant position about “resolving the nuclear issue through talks.”
While Washington needs backing from allies, cooperation with traditional adversaries China and Russia is more significant. The U.S. needs both to put the squeeze on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Both are economic partners of North Korea and veto-wielding permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
Asked if he was considering military action against North Korea, Trump told reporters: “Certainly that’s not our first choice, but we will see what happens.”
Meanwhile, members of the House and Senate were briefed on Capitol Hill on Wednesday about the threat from North Korea, as well as the situation in Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intellience Dan Coats participated in the briefing.
“What we’re discussing is diplomacy but it would be diplomacy backed up by these types of financial sanctions which are now being deployed,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce said outside the meeting.
Trump traded threats with Pyongyang last month after it conducted two long-range missile tests. At one point, he warned of “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if North Korea continued its threats. At another, he credited Kim for a brief pause in missile tests that ended days later.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas, Chad Pergram, Bree Tracey and The Associated Press contributed to this report.