WASHINGTON —President Trump hit the golf course Friday, as he and his aides braced for what North Korea calls a “big event,” possibly some kind of nuclear test.
Administration officials said they are hopeful that China can dissuade its communist neighbor from conducting a nuclear explosion or a missile test.
“I think China has really been working very hard,” Trump told reporters Thursday, later adding that “we’ll see how it goes.”
Trump also said:”North Korea is a problem, the problem will be taken care of.”
The president, who is spending Easter weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., has no public events on his schedule Friday. He spent part of the day at Trump International Golf Club.
Meanwhile, the North Koreans accused Trump of fomenting tensions in the region with tactics that range from “aggressive” tweets tothis week’smovement of a U.S. strike carrier group into the region.
“We will go to war if they choose,” North Korea Vice Foreign MinisterHan Song Ryol said.
Kim Jong-un’s government has pledged “a big and important event” for Saturday, the 105th anniversary birthday of the country’s founder Kim Il-sung, the current president’s grandfather. In recent years, it has marked the date with rocket and missile tests.
U.S. officials said they suspect North Korea is planning another underground nuclear test.
North Korea was the prime topic of a recent phone call and summit between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the most powerful supporter of North Korea.
American and Chinese officials have discussed the possibility of cutting off oil imports in response to more nuclear provocations from North Korea.
The Global Times, a periodical in China, editorialized this week that, if necessary, it would approve of “severe restrictive measures that have never been seen before, such as restricting oil imports to the North.”
Trump and aides have said the United Stateswill address the North Korea on its own if China doesn’t.
“If China can help us do that, it’ll be great,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said. “And if not, we’ll go and handle that ourselves with our allies.”