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GOP rep: Trump's 'fire and fury' remarks intended to pressure China

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) is defending President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE's threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea, saying on Thursday that the president's comments were intended to put pressure on China. 

"I think this was aimed primarily at China to let China know how serious we are about this — to get China to re-engage, not just to play games the way they've been doing since the meeting at Mar-a-Lago," King said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"China can bring North Korea to its knees. I think the president was doing this as a means to get people's attention, including the Chinese," the New York Republican added. "And for people who say this is going to somehow rattle North Korea, nothing rattles them. They're rattled enough to begin with."

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Trump escalated his rhetoric against North Korea on Tuesday, telling reporters at his Bedminster, N.J. golf club that continued threats from Pyongyang would be met by "fire and fury like the world has never seen."

North Korea's military later announced that it was considering an attack on Guam and said that plans for a strike near the U.S. territory would be complete by mid-August.

Trump has long vowed to pressure China to rein in North Korea, particularly Pyongyang's rapidly advancing nuclear and missile programs.

But the president has voiced increasing frustration recently, saying that China has done little with regard to North Korea despite the fact that Beijing "could easily solve this problem."

"I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk," Trump wrote on Twitter in July. "We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!"