In a stark departure from his earlier talk of "fire and fury", President Donald Trump said Wednesday that a military response to North Korea is not his first choice.
But he did not rule out a military response to Pyongyang when questioned by reporters before boarding Marine One on his way out of Washington.
"We will see what happens," he said.
The comments follow his telephone conversation with China's President Xi Jinping earlier Wednesday, which Trump characterized as "a very, very frank and very strong phone call".
The call touched on the North Korea crisis, with Trump saying Xi "would like to do something.
"We'll see whether or not he can do it. But we will not be putting up with what's happening in North Korea," he said. "I believe that President Xi agrees with me 100 percent. He doesn't want to see what's happening there, either."
Like his predecessor, Trump has hinged efforts to reign in Pyongyang on China, the North's principal trade partner.
But ever defiant, the North has continued to carry out successive historic ballistic missile and nuclear tests despite pressure from the international community.
On Sunday, North Korea's state-run news agency KCNA claimed the North had carried out a first ever test of a hydrogen bomb which could be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile.
North Korea is barred from testing nuclear and ballistic missiles and was recently hit with strengthened UN Security Council sanctions for launching a pair of ICBMs in July.
The UN in early August imposed new sanctions on Pyongyang with a sweeping ban on exports of coal, iron, lead and seafood that could eliminate $1 billion of the country's annual revenues.
The U.S. is weighing imposing additional sanctions on the North that would see virtually all trade halted with the country.
Source: Anadolu Agency