'Bloody nose' strike on N Korea 'not even on table': Trump administration

Washington: The United States is not considering a pre-emptive "bloody nose" strike on North Korea to punish it for its nuclear weapons program, US lawmakers and a senior official said Thursday.

At a hearing to confirm nominees for top State Department roles, senators said they had been told by members of President Donald Trump's national security team that no such idea was even on the table.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Susan Thornton, who has been nominated for confirmation to take the post permanently, agreed she understood this was the case.

US Senator Jeanne Shaheen told Thornton the unnamed White House official had "made it very clear that there is no bloody nose strategy for a strike against North Korea".

"Is it your understanding as well that there is no bloody nose strategy for North Korea?" the Democratic senator asked. Thornton replied: "That is my understanding senator, yes."

A Republican senator who had also been in the previous closed door meeting, James Risch of Idaho, agreed.

"We were told clearly by administration people -- about as high up as it gets -- that there is no such thing as a bloody nose strategy, that they've never talked about it," he said.

Media reports have suggested that some White House officials would favour such a strike, designed to intimidate Kim Jong-Un's regime but stop short of an all-out war to overthrow him.

But it is also reported that senior military commanders and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis oppose the idea, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has vowed to pursue a diplomatic solution.

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