President Donald Trump offered more tough talk after North Korea performed its most recent missile launch over Japan, warning on Tuesday that "all options are on the table." But while Trump's approach to North Korea has involved both veiled and explicit threats of military action, polling shows that most Americans would prefer the president consider one option that he's left off the table in his rhetoric on the matter—that of high-level diplomatic discussions with Kim Jong-un's regime.
While behind-the-scenes talks have taken place between diplomatic officials from both countries, Trump has indicated that he sees military threats and action as the best way to approach the isolated regime.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday morning, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said "enough is enough" from North Korea and warned that "something serious has to happen" in response to Monday's missile launch.
The missile North Korea fired into the Pacific Ocean on Monday was reportedly the same ballistic missile that it could potentially launch toward Guam, as it threatened to do earlier this month. Kim Jong-un threatened to attack Guam after Trump said the U.S. would respond with "fire and fury" if North Korea continued testing nuclear weapons. After the Guam threat, the president said of North Korea, “things will happen to them like they never thought possible" should they attack the U.S. territory.
The missile launch came a week after Trump boasted to a crowd in Phoenix, Arizona that Kim was "starting to respect" the U.S. following the president's threats. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also remarked that week that Pyongyang had "certainly demonstrated some level of restraint" in recent days.
But after the quiet proved to be short-lived, Trump's newest threats continued the cycle that's been established in recent weeks between North Korea and the U.S.: violence met with threats of more violence. Meanwhile, South Korea dropped eight powerful bombs at a firing range near its border with North Korea, in order to "display a strong capability to punish" Pyongyang if war touches off.
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As the international anti-nuclear group Global Zero pointed out on Monday, a majority of Americans oppose Trump's threats when it comes to North Korea and instead support diplomatic and non-military solutions to diminish tensions.
A Harvard-Harris poll conducted last week found that Trump's threats haven't been met favorably by most Americans. Fifty-three percent don't approve of how he has handled escalating tensions with North Korea, and 56 percent found his "fire and fury" comment, made spontaneously at a press conference on the opioid epidemic in the U.S., was "over the top and unhelpful," according to The Hill's report on the survey.
The United Nations Security Council is holding talks on Tuesday to discuss North Korea's latest action.