In departure from Trump, US general says China must be part of North Korea solution

WH threatens unilateral action on North Korea
WH threatens unilateral action on North Korea

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Story highlights

  • Trump told the Financial Times that US could "totally" solve the North Korea nuclear issue without China
  • General who oversees America's nuclear arsenal says North Korea "definition of unpredictable"

Washington (CNN)Gen. John Hyten, the commander of US Strategic Command, which oversees US nuclear weapons and missile defense forces, said Tuesday that China was critical to solving the North Korea nuclear challenge.

"Any solution to the North Korean problem has to involve China," Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
His comments come days after the publication of an interview where President Donald Trump said that the US was prepared to solve the North Korea issue without Beijing's help.
    "If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will," Trump told the Financial Times.
    Asked to clarify if he believed the US could solve the problem without China, Trump said: "totally."
    Hyten added that while he believed Beijing's involvement was critical, he said that he will provide military options to the president to deal with the threat from North Korea.
    "I'll provide those military options. So that's my job but I look at it from a strategic perspective and I can't see a solution that doesn't involve China."
    "China is the definition of North Korea's backyard," Hyten told the committee, saying that the close economic links between Pyongyang and Beijing made China a pivotal player in curbing North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
    "It's hard for me to see a solution without China," he added.
    Trump will host Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, and the issue of North Korea's nuclear program is bound to be on the agenda.
    Asked by the Sen. Jim Inhofe what he thought constituted the greatest nuclear threat to the US, Hyten pointed to both Russia and North Korea.
    "I think Russia is the greatest threat. What I'm concerned about most nights is North Korea," he said, citing the latter's unpredictability. "Every time they launch I'm not sure what that launch is going to be. That would be the definition of unpredictable."