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Trump on North Korea: 'Hopefully it will all work out'
President Trump on Friday sought to calm frayed nerves over his war of words with North Korea, saying "hopefully it will all work out" in the two countries' nuclear showdown.
Trump spoke at his New Jersey golf club hours after issuing new threats of force against the isolated nation, tweeting the military is "locked and loaded" and that its leader, Kim Jong Un, would "truly regret it" if he attacks the U.S. territory of Guam.
After meeting with three of his top national security officials and diplomats, Trump tried to sound a more positive note about the possibility of avoiding a conflict.
"Hopefully it will all work out," he said. "Nobody loves a peaceful solution more than President Trump, that I can tell you ... But we will see what happens. We think that lots of good things could happen, and we could also have a bad solution."
But Trump also made it clear he is not backing down from his threats against Kim. Asked if the U.S. will go to war with North Korea, the president cryptically responded, "I think you know the answer to that."
Trump spoke after huddling privately with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. He said he would speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping later Friday, most likely to discuss Beijing's role in containing their belligerent neighbor.
"I think the president has made it clear he prefers a diplomatic solution," Tillerson said of Trump. "I think what the president is trying to do is support our efforts by ensuring North Korea understands what the stakes are."
Trump's escalation of his bellicose rhetoric against North Korea has rattled some U.S. allies and raised questions about whether the president, who has never held office before, is equipped to handle a nuclear crisis.
Even as he sought to ease fears about a nuclear-armed conflict with North Korea, he issued a fresh warning about their threat to launch a missile toward Guam. The government said this week it would have a plan in place by mid-August.
"It will be very safe. And if anything happens to Guam, there's going to be big, big trouble in North Korea," Trump said.
The president said he has not spoken to the island's governor.
Trump's comments came during a rollicking 11-minute question-and-answer session with reporters that touched on a wide range of subjects.
He raised the possibility of a military intervention in Venezuela to halt a power grab by leader Nicol s Maduro, said he would hold a "pretty big press conference" on Monday in Washington and parried questions about his joke about Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to expel 755 staffers from U.S. diplomatic missions there.
It was the second exchange with reporters on Friday, and his fourth in two days, a sign Trump is hungry to weigh in on world affairs and vent his frustrations even during his 17-day summer vacation.
While Trump's words have caused a frenzy in Washington and capitals around the world, the actions of the U.S. military have not matched his rhetoric.
The Navy has not put any aircraft carriers on patrol in the Asia-Pacific region and no additional forces have been sent there or called off leave, according to media reports. The State Department has not urged American citizens to leave countries like South Korea and Japan.