President Donald Trump said "we are in very good shape" — responding to North Korea's threat of a "preemptive strike" against the U.S. — and China had taken "some very unusual moves over the last two or three hours" to further pressure dictator Kim Jong Un.
"We're building our military rapidly," Trump told reporters Thursday at a White House news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. "A lot of things have happened over the last short period of time.
"I have been here for approximately 91 days. We're doing a lot of work.
"We're in very good position."
When Trump was asked whether Kim could be reasoned with, he responded: "I can't answer your question on stability.
"I hope the answer is a positive one, not a negative one," he added. "Hopefully, that will be something that gets taken care of."
North Korean state media warned of a "super-mighty preemptive strike" after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States was weighing its options on pressuring Pyongyang about its nuclear program.
"In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists' invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes," said the official newspaper of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, The Rodong Sinmun.
Trump said this month's summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping had led to Beijing taken stronger action against Kim.
"I have great respect for the president of China," Trump said. "He is working very hard.
"I can say that all of the pundits out there are saying they've never seen China work like they're working right now.
"Many coal ships have been sent back, many other things have happened.
"Some very unusual moves have been made over the last two or three hours — and I really have confidence that the president will try very hard.
"I have absolute confidence that he will be trying very, very hard."
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