International

US security adviser says North Korea behavior ‘can’t continue’

WASHINGTON: An international consensus that includes China has now emerged that North Korea’s “threatening behavior” cannot go on, the US national security adviser said on Sunday.

Speaking after North Korea’s latest — and apparently failed — missile test, H.R. McMaster said, “I think there’s an international consensus now, including — including the Chinese and the Chinese leadership — that this is a situation that just can’t continue.”

Speaking from Afghanistan on ABC, he made a point of stating several times that China — North Korea’s key ally — is now concerned about the reclusive communist state’s behavior.

McMaster said President Donald Trump has made clear he will not allow the nuclear-armed Pyongyang regime to put the US and its regional allies under threat.

The consensus including China is “that this problem is coming to a head. And so it’s time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully,” McMaster said.

READ MORE: North Korea missile test fails after military parade

Trump turned to Twitter over the weekend to underscore the key importance of cooperation with China on the Korean problem.

Having blasted Beijing throughout his presidential campaign for unfairly manipulating its currency, he tweeted Sunday: “Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!”

In his ABC interview, McMaster said that Trump had directed US military, diplomatic and intelligence officials to provide him with options — in concertation with regional allies including China — that could be used “if the North Korea regime refuses to denuclearize.”

He called North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un “a threat to all people in the region, and globally as well,” but cautioned that Trump “is clearly comfortable making tough decisions.”

A White House foreign policy adviser, briefing reporters on the plane carrying US Vice President Mike Pence to Seoul, was asked what steps China had committed to when President Xi Jinping met recently with Trump in Florida. The briefer noted that China had already turned back ships bearing coal from the North.

“There were a number of steps that were discussed down in Mar-a-Lago between President Xi and President Trump,” the briefer said, referring to Trump’s Florida resort, adding that the rejection of Pyongyang’s coal was a “good first step.”

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