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Trump says military action against North Korea "certainly could happen"

President Donald Trump listens as Kuwait leader Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Washington.

Evan Vucci / AP

Last Updated Sep 7, 2017 4:17 PM EDT

In a joint news conference from the White House with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah on Thursday afternoon, President Trump did not rule out a military response to North Korea's provocations.

"Military action would certainly be an option," Mr. Trump said in response to a question from CBS News's Major Garrett. "Is it inevitable? Nothing is inevitable."

Tensions between the United States and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime have been rising over the North's nuclear testing and missile launches.

"I can tell you that North Korea is behaving badly and it's got to stop," Mr. Trump said.

While the president said he "would prefer not going the route of the military," his administration has threatened to impose increased U.S. sanctions on nations who interact with North Korea.  

Should the U.S. respond to the regime with military action, "It would be a very sad day in North Korea," Mr. Trump said.  

The president also thanked Kuwait for its leadership and help in fighting ISIS and other terrorist groups. 

Mr. Trump also offered to intercede, should Kuwait reach an impasse in its attempts to mediate between other Gulf states and Qatar, which has been blockaded over its support for extremist groups and close ties with Iran. 

"I would be willing to do so and I think you'd have a deal worked out very quickly," Mr. Trump said of potential U.S. mediation between Qatar and its Arab neighbors.

But al-Sabah said he is "optimistic that a solution will come in the very near future." 

"First of all I would like to say there is no problem that cannot be resolved. True, it's complicated," al-Sabah said of the Gulf region's relationship with Qatar. "What is important is that we have stopped any military action," he later added.

Trump, Kuwaiti emir presser - live updates:


Al-Sabah: "there is no problem that cannot be resolved"

"First of all I would like to say there is no problem that cannot be resolved. True, it's complicated," the emir said of the Gulf region's relationship with Qatar. He said that Qatar should "join its brothers in the GCC."

"What is important is that we have stopped any military action," al-Sabah said.

Trump: U.S. will "stop the funding of terrorism"

"There has been massive funding of terrorism by certain countries," Mr. Trump said, adding that he hopes to "stop the funding of terrorism."

Trump hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace

The president called a potential two-state solution "the world's most complex and difficult deal," but expressed hope for peace in the region.

"As far as Syria is concerned, we have very little to do with Syria other than killing ISIS," Mr. Trump said, claiming that in the eight months of his presidency, his administration has been more effective in combatting ISIS than the Obama administration.

Trump thanks Kuwait for mediation, says he is willing for U.S. to mediate 

"I would be willing to do so and I think you'd have a deal worked out very quickly," Mr. Trump said of potential U.S. mediation between Qatar and its Arab neighbors. 

Al-Sabah hopes for diplomatic resolution to conflicts with Qatar

"I am optimistic that a solution will come in the very near future, god willing," the emir said.

Trump is asked about North Korea by CBS'S Major Garrett

"Military action would certainly be an option. Is it inevitable? Nothing is inevitable," Mr. Trump said when asked about potential military action in North Korea. 

"I would prefer not going the route of the military," he said adding that it's something that "certainly could happen." 

"I can tell you that North Korea is behaving badly and it's got to stop," Mr. Trump said.

Al-Sabah thanks U.S. for shared "strategic relationship"

"We stand by our friends in the U.S.," al-Sabah said, acknowledging the common efforts shared by Kuwait and the United States in ending the sources of funding for terrorism and combatting radical ideology. 

The emir praised the Trump administration's efforts in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict diplomatically.

Emir al-Sabah offers condolences to Harvey victims

"We are deeply affected by the human losses," al-Sabah said. After offering his thoughts and prayers, he expressed hope for the people to be affected by the impending Hurricane Irma. 

Trump says relationship with Middle Eastern nations more important now than ever before

"We send a strong message to both terrorist organizations and regional aggressors that they cannot win," Mr. Trump said. 

President Trump and Kuwati Emir approach the stage

Mr. Trump welcomed the Emir to the White House and thanked him for Kuwait's humanitarian efforts and their contributions in the fight against ISIS.

"Each nation in the region must decide what kind of future they want for their children," Mr. Trump said, addressing other Arab nations' efforts in fighting against ISIS and radical ideology. 

Joint conference to begin shortly

President Trump and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah will begin their joint news conference from the White House momentarily after a slight delay.

Before conference, Trump says eliminating the debt ceiling "could be discussed"

Joined by Vice President Mike Pence and several members of his cabinet, when asked if he would be open to eliminating the debt ceiling, Mr. Trump responded that "it could be discussed" and "there are a lot of good reasons to do that."

"We have a great respect for the sanctity of the debt ceiling. Chuck does and Nancy does and we all do," the president said of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.  "So that will never be a problem."

Mr. Trump also commented on Hurricane Irma's trajectory, saying "to the people of Florida: we just want you to protect yourselves."


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    Blair Guild is a politics reporter and video producer for CBS News Digital.