WASHINGTON — The Latest on tensions between the United States and North Korea over its development of nuclear weapons (all times local):
President Donald Trump says he’s open to the possibility that negotiations can steady tensions between the U.S. and nuclear-armed North Korea.
But Trump also appeared to suggest he was keeping military options open.
Trump told reporters at the White House: “If it’s going to be something other than negotiation, believe me we are ready more so than we have ever been.”
Trump was responding to a question about his comment last week before a dinner with military leaders when he referred ambiguously to “the calm before the storm.”
He said Friday he is “always open” to negotiations, but added, “We’re going to see what happens with North Korea.”
Trump recently declared that his top diplomat was “wasting his time” in trying to negotiate with the North.
Does the ominous rhetoric from President Donald Trump and repeated flights by U.S. strategic bombers over the Korean Peninsula mean Washington is readying for what many feel is unthinkable — a military conflict with a nuclear-armed North Korea that would put millions of civilians at risk?
U.S. B-1B bombers flew this week over South Korea with fighter jet escorts from the allied nation. That’s become an increasingly familiar show of force to Pyongyang. It could help pilots become more familiar with North Korean air defenses and thus prepare them for a conflict.
White House chief of staff John Kelly said Thursday Americans should be concerned about North Korea’s increasing nuclear and missile capabilities, but he tamped down fears of war. He said the North Korean threat is “manageable” for now.