"It's a failed test -- follows another failed test. So really, no need to reinforce their failure. We've got options. We've got a range of options -- both militarily, diplomatic, economic and others -- a wide array of tools at the disposal for the president should he choose to use them."
"If they took the time and energy to launch a missile and fail, we don't need to expend any resources against that," the foreign policy adviser said.
The US has recently leaned on China -- North Korea's main ally -- to apply pressure to Pyongyang to curtail its nuclear ambitions. Trump held a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month and has hoped to use trade as a negotiating tool for Xi's cooperation on North Korea.
The Trump administration has touted some successes on that front in the past week, including the suspension of coal shipments from North Korea to China
. Overall imports from North Korea to China, however, have increased.
Asked if he was confident that China will pressure North Korea in a meaningful way, McMaster replied, "We'll see what happens."
"Not only did they establish a very warm relationship, but since that time, they've worked together on other issues," McMaster said, referring to Trump and Xi. "On North Korea, they worked together. But they worked together as well in connection with the response to the mass murder on the part of the Assad regime in connection with the UN vote."
McMaster praised China's decision to abstain last week from a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria's recent chemical weapons attack, calling it a "courageous" move. Russia vetoed the resolution.