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U.S. told Japan before Trump-Xi talks of option to strike N. Korea

The United States told Japan prior to the U.S.-China summit in
early April that it could resort to a military action on North Korea
unless China steps up pressure on Pyongyang to curb its nuclear and
missile ambitions, diplomatic sources said Tuesday.

According to the sources, a senior State Department official
explained about the idea to Japanese officials when they met earlier
this month, noting that U.S. President Donald Trump was also expected
to convey the position to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The communication between Japan and the United States indicates
Washington's eagerness to work in tandem with Tokyo to encourage
China to take concrete actions to pressure North Korea. But Japan is
concerned that a U.S. strike on North Korea could trigger a
retaliatory attack on South Korea or Japan.

The sources quoted the State Department official as saying there
are only two options in dealing with North Korea -- either China
steps up pressure, or the United States strikes.

The remarks made the Japanese government lean toward the view
that a military strike is becoming a realistic option for the United
States, according to the sources.

After the meeting, Trump held telephone talks with Japanese
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last Thursday and was quoted as telling him
the United States considers that all options are on the table in
dealing with North Korea.

Trump then met Xi at his Florida resort for two days through
Friday, during which the U.S. president asserted that if Beijing does
not step up pressure on Pyongyang, Washington is ready to take
unilateral action.

The United States and Japan are growing wary over North Korea's
progress in its nuclear and missile development. North Korea has
shown signs of preparing for a test of an intercontinental ballistic
missile, which could potentially deliver a nuclear warhead to the
U.S. mainland, and a sixth nuclear test. (April 12)