Ryan: US shouldn't rule out military force in North Korea dispute

Ryan: US shouldn't rule out military force in North Korea dispute
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 House passes stopgap spending measure with defense money MORE (R-Wis.) said Wednesday that the United States can't rule out using military force against North Korea, Reuters reported. 

But Ryan also said that the U.S. should refrain from such action unless absolutely necessary, arguing that the country should not aim for a military solution to growing tensions in the region.

"We don't want to have military options employed, but we must keep all options on the table," Ryan said during a trip to the United Kingdom.

Ryan's comments come at a time of heightening tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. The U.S. earlier this month announced that it would move a Navy strike group toward the Korean Peninsula amid increasing concerns over North Korea's rapidly advancing nuclear weapons program — although it has since been reported that the Navy ships didn't move there when White House officials said they would.

North Korea condemned the supposed U.S. naval movement and threatened a nuclear strike if provoked. The country also warned that it could annihilate U.S. military installations in South Korea.

An attempted North Korean missile test Sunday failed almost immediately after it was initiated, with the missile blowing up shortly after lift off. 

Ryan's call to leave military options on the table echoes top Trump administration officials, including Vice President Pence, who warned Wednesday that the U.S. was prepared to respond to any use of force.

"The United States of America will always seek peace. But under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready," Pence said during a trip to Japan.