Lieberman on Trump's North Korea rhetoric: 'Diplomatic language' hasn't worked

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) told CNN Wednesday that he's "not upset" with President Trump's stern warnings to North Korea this week, noting that "diplomatic language" with the communist country hasn't worked for decades.

"I know that President Trump’s words were strong, but I’m not upset about them because we’ve tried for years and years, really decades, diplomatic language and a lot else with the North Koreans and it hasn’t worked," Lieberman said on CNN's "New Day."

Trump on Tuesday warned North Korea against making threats to the U.S., responding to a Washington Post report that it has expanded its nuclear capabilities. 

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“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said to reporters at his New Jersey golf club.

“He has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before," he added. 

Lieberman also referenced a former agreement struck with North Korea in 1994 under former President Clinton. 

"This goes back to the ‘90s when President Clinton, in really good faith, negotiated an agreement with Kim Jong Un’s father, which gave the North Koreans billions of dollars in return for a promise to stop their nuclear program, to put the brakes on it and then stop it altogether," he continued. "They essentially took the money and ran.

"And I think it’s a statement that President Trump made, not only to show the seriousness with which we take the rapidly escalating capabilities of the North Koreans to the North Koreans, but it’s also a statement I think even more important to China.”

Anchor Alisyn Camerota asked Lieberman to elaborate on whether Trump's warning was directed more at China than North Korea.

“Yes. I think ultimately that’s the important audience, for now, to avert a disaster here because the Chinese really do have leverage on the North Koreans and they’re not using it," replied Lieberman.

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Mattis hints at US military options for North Korea Mattis: US to send 3,000 more troops to Afghanistan MORE warned North Korea on Wednesday afternoon that any military action will "lead to the end of its regime."

"The DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons," Mattis said in a statement, referring to North Korea.

"The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people."