US President Donald Trump yesterday said that military action against a defiant North Korea after its recent powerful nuclear test was "not inevitable."
Speaking in a White House news conference along with the premier of Kuwait, the president said, "Military action would certainly be an option. Is it inevitable? Nothing's inevitable."
"It would be great if something else could be worked out," he said, while adding that if it comes to military action, "It will be a very sad day for North Korea."
Meanwhile, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi yesterday said that China would support the United Nations taking further measures against North Korea following its recent nuclear test.
However it remained unclear whether Beijing, the North's key ally, would be willing to back, or enforce, new sanctions at the UN Security Council, where it is a veto-wielding permanent member.
The development came as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his South Korean counterpart struggled to grind down Russian resistance to new sanctions on Pyongyang.
"Given the new developments on the Korean peninsula, China agrees that the UN Security Council should respond further by taking necessary measures," Wang told a press conference in Beijing.
"We believe that sanctions and pressure are only half of the key to resolving the issue. The other half is dialogue and negotiation," Wang added.
The comments came after Pyongyang on Sunday triggered global alarm with its most powerful nuclear blast to date, claiming to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.
China, which is the North's biggest diplomatic and economic supporter, is seen as key to efforts to convince Pyongyang to abandon its weapons programme.
Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang clarified later that China would support the consensus of the UN Security Council.
"We support the Security Council in making further reactions and taking necessary measures," he said, adding "we hope to resolve this issue through dialogue and consultation".