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U.S. looks at sanctions, military action to counter North Korea

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. is considering a range of options, including expanded economic sanctions and military action, as it asks allies to join in confronting North Korea’s latest provocations, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday.

North Korea’s ballistic missile test early Saturday was in “open defiance” of the international community, and the risk to the U.S. will not be tolerated, McMaster said.

“We do have to do something” with partners in the region and globally “that involves enforcement of the U.N. sanctions that are in place,” McMaster said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It may mean ratcheting up those sanctions even further. And it also means being prepared for military operations, if necessary.”

North Korea’s latest missile test came hours after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson encouraged United Nations members Friday to pressure against Kim Jong Un’s regime. Trump has stepped up pressure to prevent Kim from obtaining the capability to hit North America with a nuclear weapon, and he’s threatened to act unilaterally if China does not do more to curb its neighbor’s activities.

McMaster said Trump has been “masterful” in courting China, which accounts for the vast majority of trade with North Korea.

“We do see China starting to do something,” including in public statements and the Chinese press, he said. “But it is clear more needs to be done, and we’re going to ask China to do more as we do more.”

Trump, on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” called the latest launch “a small missile” while declining to say whether he’d take military action if Kim conducts a nuclear test.

“If he does a nuclear test, I will not be happy,” Trump said. “And I can tell you also, I don’t believe that the president of China, who is a very respected man, will be happy either.” Asked if “not happy” meant military action, he said, “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.”

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