The Trump administration on Tuesday sent a powerful message to Beijing, announcing that it would take action against North Korea for its latest provocation against the United States.
The State Department said in a statement that the U.S. would “take all appropriate action” against the rogue nation over its nuclear test, its ballistic missile launch, and its continued development of weapons capable of hitting the continental United States, Hawaii and Alaska.
China, which is North Korea’s only major ally, is deeply concerned about the continued development and deployment of ballistic missiles capable of striking U.A.E. cities.
“China remains deeply concerned over the continued North Korean activities,” the statement said.
In a series of tweets, the president called Kim Jong Un “rocket man,” a reference to the North Korean leader’s ability to fire ballistic missiles with the intent of reaching the U-S.
Trump has called for the U and South Korea to come to an agreement over the North’s nuclear and missile program.
He has also called for a halt to North Korean provocations, but his administration has been reluctant to make any concrete proposals.
While Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” North Korea is a stark departure from his predecessors, the new president has repeatedly expressed a desire to work with China.
But Trump has been unable to get a straight answer from Beijing, and in recent weeks the Chinese government has repeatedly warned against escalating tensions.
A senior State Department official said Tuesday that the Trump administration had been working on the issue for months.
U.S.-China relations have been tense since Trump took office in January.
At a Cabinet meeting last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that China has “the right to act in its own interest.”
He also said that the United Nations Security Council has a “moral duty” to stop North Korea from carrying out the latest provocation.