LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul says the United States would win a military conflict with North Korea.

But, speaking to reporters in Louisville on Friday, Paul says he hopes the country's erratic leader can be convinced to avoid that conflict.

“It would be nice if North Korea understood that launching a nuclear weapon at us would be catastrophic,” Paul said. “It would be the end of North Korea. We don't want that. They should not want that either.”

Paul believes President Donald Trump is sending the right message; that a conflict with the U.S. is not in North Korea's best interest.

“Everyone that I've spoken with realizes that if there's a military confrontation with North Korea, we would win. We're a nation that has an enormous military. We would win, but we don't want a military confrontation. That's the message North Korea should get,” Paul said.

Paul says China is a key to sending that message.

“China helps them with both power and with food. I think China can have a great deal of influence in saying to North Korea, ‘You know what, do you have to always rattle your saber,’” he said. 

President Trump has sent Navy ships into the region, and turned up the rhetoric, saying that a major conflict is very possible.

But Paul, who attended a White House briefing on North Korea this week, does not believe the President and his advisers are itching for a fight.

“None of them are eager for war. They're eager for us being so strong that no one ever decides to go to war with us. So, I didn't see any trigger-happy generals in there advocating for war,” Paul said.

Paul was in Louisville for a roundtable on health insurance. He says the best insurance against North Korea is for its leaders to know the U.S. means business.

“We do not want war with North Korea. It's a disaster for South Korea, for North Korea, for us. We don't want that," Paul said. "But they also have to realize in a civilized world, that they can't be threatening to launch nuclear weapons against the United States.”

Paul says he's open to loosening sanctions and trading with North Korea if they agree to give up their nuclear arsenal.

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