President Donald Trump says he is considering a blockade or quarantine of Venezuela, where President Nicolas Maduro continues to hold power.
Trump gave no details about such plans when answering a reporter’s question Thursday about Chinese and Iranian backing for Maduro.
Russia and Cuba have also sent forces to Venezuela in support of Maduro.
Trump has always said a military option is on the table for Venezuela, but so far has relied on sanctions and support from other nations to try to drive out Maduro.
The United States was the first to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela after he used his constitutional power as National Assembly leader to declare Maduro’s presidency illegitimate.
Guaido claimed Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent. Guaido led a popular uprising against Maduro earlier this year, which appears to have fizzled.
The collapse in world energy prices, corruption and failed socialist policies have wrecked oil-rich Venezuela’s economy and millions have fled the country and its severe shortages of fuel, quality medical care and many food staples.