President Trump is reportedly preparing to neutralise a North Korean launch site or a stockpile of weapons, despite Secretary of State Rex Tillerson still pursuing a diplomatic resolution.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on December 22, 2017

The United States is planning to “punch the North Koreans in the nose”, well-placed sources told the Telegraph.

A former US security official briefed on policy told the UK news outlet exclusively, that the Trump administration is seriously considering neutralising a launch site before Kim Jong-Un can fire another missile.

This has reportedly been confirmed another former official and a current staffer of the administration.

The President is reportedly also open to the idea of destroying a weapons cache in the slim hope such a move would remind the rogue nation’s dictator of the military might he is up against, and push him towards productive talks.

“The Pentagon is trying to find options that would allow them to punch the North Koreans in the nose, get their attention and show that we’re serious,” the unnamed authority said.

The Pentagon is trying to find options that would allow them to punch the North Koreans in the nose.

The options being tabled support the view of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who last week estimated there was a 30% chance Mr Trump would strike first, and if the North Koreans were to conduct an additional test of a nuclear bomb — their seventh — that would rise to 70%.

North Korea’s latest missile test shows Kim Jong-Un has a nuclear-weapon capable of striking the US mainland, so it’s no surprise the Pentagon is ramping up its military plans.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson continues to pursue diplomatic pathways without preconditions but it seems his position is at odds with Mr Trump’s.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: “We remain open to dialogue when North Korea is willing to conduct a credible dialogue on the peaceful de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”

“We are not seeing any evidence that they are ready to sit down and have those kinds of conversations.”

The President has a history of undermining Mr Tillerson, and is reportedly looking to replace him with former CIA director Mike Pompeo.

In October, after the US’ top diplomat revealed US officials were in touch with their North Korean counterparts, Mr Trump told Mr Tillerson that “being nice” to Kim Jong-Un is a waste of time.