A Republican senator says US President Donald Trump would go to war to destroy North Korea rather than allow it to develop a long-range nuclear-armed missile.
"There is a military option: To destroy North Korea's program and North Korea itself,” Lindsey Graham told NBC's Today Show on Tuesday, describing his discussions with Trump.
Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un touted its recent test of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) as a call on the United States to set aside its threats of attacking the island nation.
Pyongyang is under mounting international pressure over its missile and nuclear development programs. However, it says it needs to continue and develop its missile force as a deterrent to defend the nation in the face of the United States and its regional allies' hegemony.
Sen. Graham said that if diplomacy, and in particular pressure from the North's neighbor China, fails to halt the program then the United States will have no choice but to take devastating military action.
"They've kicked the can down the road for 20 years. There will be a war with North Korea over the missile program if they continue to try to hit America with an ICBM," he said.
"He's told me that. I believe him. If I were China, I would believe him, too, and do something about it. You can stop North Korea, militarily or diplomatically.”
"I prefer the diplomatic approach. But they will not be allowed to have a missile to hit America with a nuclear weapon on top," Graham said.
Last month, the UN Security Council imposed a fresh array of sanctions on Pyongyang in response to a number of missile tests carried out this year.
Russia and China have opposed calls for new sanctions and would only agree when the North obtains the required technology to develop ICBMs, Reuters reported, citing diplomatic sources.
Unlike Washington, Beijing and Moscow argue that Pyongyang has yet to master the know-how.