Commenting on the possibility of Washington's "preemptive" strike on North Korea and London's reaction to it, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said that it was the US president's "duty to at least to explore those military options and keep them on the table."
"Kim and the world need to understand that when the 45th president of the United States contemplates a regime led by a man who not only threatens to reduce New York to 'ashes', but who stands on the verge of acquiring the power to make good on his threat, I am afraid that the US president — whoever he or she might be — will have an absolute duty to prepare any option to keep safe not only the American people but all those who have sheltered under the American nuclear umbrella," Johnson said, speaking at the annual Chatham House conference in London.
However, according to him, Britain hopes that the issue would be solved by diplomatic means.
"I don’t think anybody can conceivably want a military solution to this problem, and I know many who have studied the matter find it hard to see how the military solution might play out."
The foreign secretary has expressed hope that the North Korean leader would see that the escalation of the US military presence in East Asia, in response to ongoing nuclear tests, was not in his interests. "Until he understands that, I am afraid we have no choice, collectively, but to step up the pressure on Pyongyang," Johnson added.
"By continuing to develop nuclear capabilities, [North Korea's leader] Kim [Jong Un] risks provoking a reaction in a region that is at once defensive and competitive, that reduces, not increases, its security and, therefore, reduces, not increases, the survival chances of the regime," he concluded.
North Korea Crisis
The statement of the top UK diplomat comes amid the drastic escalation of the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, following series of missile launches and a nuclear test — so far Pyongyang's most powerful — performed by North Korea.
Pyongyang has blamed Washington for the new sanctions, which led to an exchange of threats between the US and North Korea, with Trump threatening to take a "devastating" military option and "totally destroy" the DPRK if forced to defend itself or its allies, and Kim Jong Un warning Washington of the "highest level of hard-line countermeasures in history."
Most recently, Trump said that the United States was prepared for any course of events regarding the development of the North Korean crisis despite US secretaries of defense and state saying that Washington mostly relies on diplomatic means to settle the situation.
READ MORE: Trump on N Korea: 'You Would Be Shocked to See How Prepared We Are'
China and Russia have repeatedly called on the parties involved to consider the so-called "double freeze" plan proposed by Moscow and Beijing, according to which North Korea should cease its nuclear missile tests, while US-South Korean military drills should be simultaneously halted. The initiative was rejected by Washington, while no official answer from Pyongyang followed.