Trump is reportedly 'belligerent' about North Korea in meetings

President Trump
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump has a "fixation" on North Korea, Axios reported Friday. The president is said to be the most hawkish voice in the room during conversations about potential war with Pyongyang, and his "belligerent rhetoric" is so forceful as to be a cause for concern, Axios reported, citing unnamed officials.

Trump's aggression toward North Korea is not exactly a surprise, as the White House has undercut Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's public overtures for diplomacy. Trump "is surrounded by advisers who share his concern about the rogue state," Axios explained, "but not his fixation on a military strike."

Additionally, Trump is holding out hope that China can put pressure on North Korea — though his intent to flex diplomatic muscle with Beijing has stifled his ability to criticize it. Axios noted that Trump told The New York Times on Thursday that China is "hurting us very badly on trade," but the president told the Times that his economic dealings with Beijing have been guided by the hope that China will help the U.S. corner North Korea.

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As a result, while the president yearns for a "trade war" and high taxes on aluminum and steel imports to the U.S., the North Korea crisis has prevented him from pushing for the protectionist economic policies he so desires, Axios reported. However, one source told Axios that Trump's impulses have been restrained during his first year in office, predicting that 2018 would mark the beginning of the "full Trump" era.

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